Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for children, but sometimes the most hectic for parents. Nearly 94 percent of children between the ages of four and twelve participate in Halloween activities each year, so the Oregon State Police - Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) understand parents and children have concerns when planning for Halloween activities.
Parents need to take a moment to consider basic safety precautions that will help make Halloween and "Trick or Treating" a safer night of fun:
* CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight.
* PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, streets that are isolated, or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.
* NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children should always travel in groups.
* ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don't let children enter a home unless you are with them.
* BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.
* DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.
* CONSIDER organizing a home or community party as an alternative to "trick-or-treating."
* MAKE SURE children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.
* TEACH children to say "NO!" or "this is not my mother/father" in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
* REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.
Child safety is vital year round, but Halloween is an especially important time for parents and children to pay extra attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down. To help parents be prepared year round, the Oregon State Police - Missing Children Clearinghouse provides ID Complete Child Identification and DNA kits in case your child ever becomes missing. The free kits are available in English and Spanish.
To obtain a child ID Complete kit from the Oregon State Police - Missing Children Clearinghouse, e-mail email@example.com. Please provide your name, address, number of kits needed and a call back phone number when making a request.
About the Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse:
The mission of the Missing Children Clearinghouse is to receive and distribute information on missing children to local law enforcement agencies, school districts, state and federal agencies, and the public. In 1989, the Oregon legislature mandated that OSP establish and maintain a missing children clearinghouse. The goal of the Missing Children Clearinghouse is to streamline the system, serving child victims and their families by providing assistance to law enforcement agencies and the public. To learn more about the OSP Missing Children Clearinghouse, visit its web site at: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/MCC/pages/index.aspx.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2,475,300 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 151,300 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 957,760 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 39,334,670 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at http://www.missingkids.com/.