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Red Cross reminds families to use precautions when trick-or-treating this Halloween

<i>CNN</i><br/>Halloween candy sits on a shelf at a grocery store ahead of the holiday. The Red Cross is highlighting both general physical safety tips and Covid-19 safety tips.
Halloween candy sits on a shelf at a grocery store ahead of the holiday. The Red Cross is highlighting both general physical safety tips and Covid-19 safety tips.

By Angela Kim

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    CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WRCB) — It’s time to put on your costumes and hit the streets this weekend. Before you do, the American Red Cross is reminding parents safe should be a priority to both prevent injuries and stay safe during the pandemic.

“Without being safe, it takes away a lot of the fun,” said American Red Cross of Southeastern Tennessee Exec. Director Julia Wright.

“Falls are probably one of the most common injuries that people experience, especially around their homes,” said Wright.

She said safety comes in different forms this year, starting with general physical safety.

“You’ll want to have reflective tape on your costumes or on your clothing so that people can see you,” said Wright. “You also want to carry a flashlight to see the path in front of you, to see if there’s any hazards.”

The Red Cross is also placing a big emphasis on COVID safety this year.

“Maybe consider that outdoor events are more appropriate, it’s a really great way to be able to social distance more easily,” said Wright.

She said when planning your trick-or-treat weekend, prioritize what keeps your family safe.

“You may want to include your mask as part of your costume,” said Wright. “You can definitely decorate that and make it part of the costume you already have.”

She said if you do plan to dress up, especially with a mask, be aware of animals around you.

“During this time, they may be scared and you may want to be more cautious around animals, especially dogs,” said Wright.

She said small things, like bringing hand sanitizer and clearing sidewalks of debris, can make a big difference and create an enjoyable Halloween weekend.

“Parents, make sure you know where your children are going, don’t go in anyone’s home, those things are very important,” said Wright.

Here are the top tips for parents to keep in mind while getting their kids ready for Halloween this year:

Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.

Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.

Bring hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash your hands when you get home.

Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.

Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance and make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door.

It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.

Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. Avoid running. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cross between parked cars.

Only visit homes that have a porch light on, and never go inside.

Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.

For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:

Give out treats outdoors, if possible.

Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. Wash your hands before handling treats.

Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.

Light the area well so young visitors can see.

Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

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