#childsafety | Halloween times, tips announced | Iron River Publications, Inc..

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CRYSTAL FALLS / IRON RIVER — Trick or treat hours have been set for 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, both county-wide and in the city of Iron River.
    Iron River Interim City Manager Rachel Andreski said the city is urging participants to follow state recommendations and mandates for safe trick-or-treating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The Iron County Sheriff’s Office reiterated the safety guidance offered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
     Tips for all groups include staying home if you are sick; maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet; wearing a cloth mask that covers both the mouth and nose; and washing hands often or frequently using hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
In addition to the MDHHS guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued recommendations. CDC considers trick-or-treating a high-risk activity and offers alternative activities to consider as well as safety tips if parents and children choose to trick-or-treat.
Tips for trick-or-treaters and parents:
• Share with your children that this year may be different than last but let them know some of the new ways you plan to celebrate and still have lots of fun.
• Talk with children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations. Keep a 6-foot distance from others not in your group.
• Participate in one-way trick-or-treating and guide children to stay to the right to ensure social distancing.
• Trick or treat with people you live with.
• Avoid congregating in groups around houses.
• Wear a face mask covering both mouth and nose. A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask if wearing both causes difficulty breathing. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
• Only go to houses with safety measures in place.
• Check out halloween2020.org to find exciting activities and ways to celebrate Halloween this year based on levels of COVID risks in your area.
Tips for homeowners:
• Use duct tape to mark 6-foot lines in front of home and leading to driveway/front door.
• Position a distribution table between yourself and trick-or-treaters.
• Distribute candy on a disinfected table to eliminate direct contact.
• Consider handing out candy in an open space where distancing is possible, rather than from the front door.
• Consider a neighborhood costume parade; it is an easy way to keep safe space between children.
The guidance also urges Michiganders to consider hosting virtual parties instead of in-person Halloween gatherings. If a gathering is hosted, it should be limited to 10 people or less per Executive Order 2020-176, social distancing should be maintained, cloth masks should be worn and food and party favors should be set out individually to prevent cross contamination.
    Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano offered general tips to keep your kids safe on Halloween.
• Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween night.  Drive slowly through neighborhoods, keeping a careful watch for ghouls and goblins which may dart out into the street unexpectedly.  
• Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping. Masks should not be too restrictive with adequate holes for proper respiration and peripheral vision. Consider using cosmetics to create fun or scary faces instead of masks.
• Watch costumed children around pets. The pet may not recognize the child and become frightened, especially if the child is using a prop such as a sword or dagger as part of their costume.
• Avoid hard plastic or wooden props, opting instead for items made of foam rubber which is soft and flexible.
• To help make the child more visible after dark, trick-or-treaters should carry a brightly colored bag and a flashlight or glow stick. Add reflective tape to the sides, front, and back of the child’s costume.
• At all times, watch for traffic and avoid walking in the street whenever possible.
• An adult should always accompany young children. A parent should always stay within close range of young children, and children should never be allowed to go down a street alone. Walk with your children to each house and wait near the porch or front entrance of the home until they return.
• Older children should always travel in pairs or in groups while trick-or-treating and never venture down a dark, empty street.  
• Parents should know the route that their children are following. Children should always walk together to the front door of each house and only cross the street at crosswalks.
• Children should save their candy until they get home so you can inspect it. Discard any un-wrapped or suspicious looking goodies. If your child does get sick, call your family doctor or the hospital emergency room immediately and save all wrappers. It is also helpful to determine what he or she ate and which house it came from.
 “Halloween is a fun time in Iron County,” Valesano said.  “Let’s make it a safe time as well.”


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