TERRE HAUTE -- With Halloween right around the corner and the H1N1 flu widespread across the country, the American Red Cross is offering tips to help parents and children celebrate safely.
"We don't want anyone to go out trick or treating and come home sick," Health and Safety Director of the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter Sue Seyfert said.
"You can follow these special tips to try to have a flu-free Halloween."
The tips include:
* If your child is sick, keep them at home. This will be disappointing to your young one, but your neighbors and community are counting on you to hold the line on transmission of this virus,
* Remind kids to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs away. Carry hand sanitizer with you or have it near your candy dispensing area,
* If you are giving out candy, hand it out or scoop it.
Instead of a bowl of candy, consider handing out small, individually wrapped bags of treats, and
* Throw away any unwrapped candy and inspect the rest for choking hazards and tampering.
To help prevent other dangers, take the following steps for a safer Halloween:
* Use flame-resistant costumes,
* Plan your route and make sure adults know where children are going.
A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood,
* Make sure the trick or treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick or treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to be seen,
* Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door. Never go inside,
* Instead of masks which can cover your eyes and make it hard to see, use face makeup,
* Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don't cut across yards or use alleys. Don't cross between parked cars,
* Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs,
* If you are welcoming ghosts and goblins, make sure your outdoor lights are on,
* Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps,
* Clear your porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over,
* Restrain your pets, and
* Use a glow stick instead of a candle in your jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
Visit RedCross.org for more information.
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter serves Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.
For more information about the local chapter, log on to www.wabashvalleyredcross.org or call 812-232-3393.