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    “Be seen. Be safe.” stickers a must this Halloween

    Vancouver, October 8, 2008 – Halloween is a time for fun and treats and the B.C. Association of Optometrists wants to ensure it remains that way, so optometrists are providing free “Be seen. Be safe.” reflective stickers to make sure children are visible to motorists.

    “Visibility poses the biggest risk to young pedestrians during Halloween,” says Dr. Antoinette Dumalo. “Kids have limited street-crossing skills, which are further endangered during night-time Halloween activities.”

    The B.C. Association of Optometrists is making 30,000 of these reflective stickers available to parents at any optometrist’s office across the province. In rural areas where there are no optometry offices, the reflective stickers are provided to the local RCMP detachments.

    About 10 per cent of all pedestrian traffic injuries involve children six to 15 years old and occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating can be risky because there are more children on the street than usual, and they tend to be excited and pay less attention to traffic safety.

    Here are some Halloween safety tips from the B.C. Association of Optometrists:

    • Have a responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters.
    • Use iron-on reflective fabric or tape – or pick up a “Be seen. Be safe.” reflective sticker for children’s costumes and/or coats.
    • Don’t wear a mask, use hypo-allergenic make-up instead – children need to see where they’re going.
    • Carry a flashlight.
    • Don’t crisscross the street while trick-or-treating – go down one side of the street to the end, then back on the other side.
    • Avoid novelty or cosmetic contact lenses, which may obscure vision and increase the risk of eye infections.
    • Avoid costumes that restrict movement of the head, so children can still easily look both ways before crossing the street.
    • Ensure that the path to your door is well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
    • To avoid an eye injury or vision loss, stay clear of firecrackers and sparklers and keep young children away from them.
    • If your child’s costume is homemade, ensure the materials are fire resistant. Store-bought costumes should be clearly labelled as fire retardant.

    Remember to “Be seen. Be safe.” and have a Happy Halloween!

    Optometrists specialize in examining, diagnosing, treating, managing and preventing diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and related structures. It’s important children have a complete eye exam by six months, at three years, before entering school and regularly thereafter. Adults 19 to 64 should have an eye exam every two years. People with diabetes or age 65 or older should have an exam at least once a year. For more information on eye health, or to locate an optometrist near you, visit www.whatcouldbemoreimportant.com.

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    For more information contact: Mahafrine Petigara, media relations, 604.623.3007