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Be safe, be seen on Halloween

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By The Staff

Submitted by Bruce Owens

Director, Henry County Emergency Management

Tips on designing and creating Halloween costumes at home to meet “See and be Seen” safety standards are being offered by the Kentucky Optometric Association in a pre-Halloween message to parents.

According to the vision care organization, many Halloween accidents from skinned knees to pedestrian traffic fatalities, can be traced to a child’s inability to see steps, curbs and automobiles or to a driver’s failure to see a child in time to stop.

The “See and be Seen” Halloween costumes are designed to help eliminate these hazards. Simple to do, the safety costumes offer great opportunities for youngsters and parents to use their imagination in making unusual yet safe costumes of infinite variety.

According to the optometrists, a Halloween costume should be safely visible to drivers traveling at speeds up to 70 m.p.h. and must be free of masks that may block a child’s view. Retro-reflective material is available in either iron-on or sew-on fabrics and tape, so youngsters can make up their own designs. Parents should be certain the children will be visible from front, back and sides.

Because poorly-fitted masks or those with small eye slits can block a child’s view of oncoming cars and objects in his path, a “see and be seen” costume incorporates makeup to transform young faces into original hobos, clowns, witches, gypsies or whatever.

The optometrists advise that makeup should be of the non-allergic variety and mothers should double as makeup artists, being careful to keep makeup particles and makeup applicators out of the child’s eyes.

As a final bit of Halloween safety advice, parents are cautioned that their children should not walk in the street (use yards if there is no sidewalk) and to look carefully before crossing the street, doing so at a corner with a street light if at all possible. And, as an extra precaution, the children should have a battery operated light to carry so they can see more safely and so that others can see them safely. Also check your child’s bag of “goodies” to make sure each item is safe to eat.