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Care keeps Halloween fun, not scary

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- With Halloween right around the corner, I'd like to take this opportunity to review some important safety tips. Halloween is a fun time for children and parents, but it is important that parents remain cognizant of potential dangers associated with this holiday.

First and foremost, when choosing a costume for your children, it is important to look for costumes that are flame resistant, bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with a flame. You may also want to consider reflective tape or striping for costumes and trick-or-treat bags to increase visibility. Masks should not restrict eye sight, especially peripheral vision, and should never be worn when crossing the street.

Bring a flashlight with fresh batteries with you when trick-or-treating. Plan a safe and easy route for your children. It is also a good idea to review with children their phone number and how to call 911. Remind them that 911 can be dialed free from any phone.

Now is also a good time to remind your children of basic safety tips, such as not getting into cars with strangers, looking both ways before crossing the street and never going into a stranger's house.

Children should not eat any candy until it has been inspected by an adult. While tampering is rare, adults should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

Additionally, when preparing your house for Halloween visitors, make sure to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.

By following these and other important tips, we can all make sure that this holiday is fun and safe for our children.