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The leaves are changing, jack-o-lanterns are appearing and the children … are getting scary! It’s Halloween in Georgia, and a good way to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time is with a little planning and safety-first parenting. Consider the following trick-or-treating safety tips to help your little ghouls have a frighteningly good time.
Never let your child trick-or-treat alone. Children should only trick-or-treat with a group that, depending on the age makeup, includes enough responsible adults to manage excited kids in costumes that might make it difficult for them to be seen, says MyFoxAtlanta News. A little reflective tape on costumes can also help here, ensuring that drivers can more easily see the group at night. If your kid wonders whether Superman wore reflective tape on his costume, the answer, of course, is “yes.”
Remind kids that that the rules about strangers still apply on party nights like Halloween, MyFoxAtlanta adds. That means your children should know to never enter the house or a car of a stranger, and to avoid cutting through strangers’ yards, dark alleys, and shadowy trails. The American Academy of Pediatrics also advises trick-or-treaters to stick to well-lit streets, sidewalks and established crosswalks.
Finally, dress appropriately and carry the right props. In addition to their candy sack, make sure each child carries a flashlight. It’s also helpful for adults to have a cellphone on hand in case of emergency, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. The Bibb County and Macon police departments suggests that costumes are made of fire-resistant fabrics (watch out for those jack-o-lanterns!) and are short enough around the feet that tripping dangers are minimized; costumes should not include any sharp props.
Of course, there are loads of other festivities on the docket, with family-friendly Halloween events slated for The Georgia Aquarium, Six Flags over Georgia and other venues. But, if you’re celebrating Halloween the old-fashioned way—trick-or-treating in your neighborhood—consider this final helpful reminder from American Academy of Pediatrics: Homes with porch lights on typically are more welcoming of trick-or-treaters.
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Some people count the days until summer vacation. But every summer, I count the days until November—the start of buck hunting season.
While my wife wishes I’d take up a safer hobby—croquet, maybe—my buddies and I know how to stay protected in the brush. We also keep our senses on high alert when we hit the road during this time of year, because you never know what might cross your path. Whether you’re heading out for the hunt or just passing through a deer-populated area, there are a few safe driving tips to keep in mind as deer season gets into full swing:
Be aware of your surroundings
There are about 1.5 million motor vehicle crashes involving deer in the United States each year, according to the National Science Foundation. These crashes tend spike from October to December, when deer activity rises, the Institute for Insurance Information says. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, pay close attention to what’s around you, especially when driving through the woods. Whenever I spot those yellow deer crossing signs, I slow down and keep my eyes on the sides of the road, since these often signal areas with a history of deer-related crashes.
Look out for the group
Deer don’t usually travel alone, so if you see one in your path, keep your eyes open for the rest of the group. Slow down (or stop) and do your best not to swerve if a deer enters the road—you don’t want to cause one type of accident while trying to avoid another. Also, be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the cars around you, in case you need to brake quickly.
Check the clock
Deer tend to be on the move during dawn and dusk. Since road visibility can be low during these times, try turning on your high-beam headlights to get a better view—just make sure you tone them down when oncoming traffic approaches.
Keep your car in good shape
You sure don’t want a pair of antlers coming through your windshield. Ensuring that your brakes and tires are in good working order can help protect you from damage if you need to react in an instant. You should also check that your seat belts fasten properly, as buckling up can improve your chances of emerging from an accident unscathed.
Have an accident action plan
Like all animals, deer are unpredictable. While you can take many steps to improve your safety, you can’t defend yourself against every possible scenario. If you do get into an accident with a deer, see if anyone is injured and call the local police and/or medical services. Do not attempt to touch a deer that’s in or near the road. Since there’s likely to be damage to your vehicle, make sure you also contact your insurance agent to report the accident.
Though safe driving is important at all times, these few extra steps can help get you through hunting season accident-free. As for me, I probably won’t be behind the wheel all that often—I’d rather enjoy hunting season from a tree stand!
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