Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to child safety. There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury.
Hard FactsOn average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.
- Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
Learn MoreHere are a few more tips on how to keep your kids happy and safe on Halloween.
Rabid Bats, Exposures Prompt Health Advisory
HEALTH ADVISORY: Rabid Bats, Exposures in Spokane, Surrounding Counties Prompt Reminders to Avoid Contact with Bats, Immunize PetsFor more information, contact Kim Papich (509) 324-1539 or firstname.lastname@example.org SPOKANE, Wash. – The recent identification of two rabid bats in Spokane County, with one human exposure and one exposure to a pet cat, is prompting Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) officials to issue this health advisory. Individuals are reminded to avoid contact with bats and pet owners are encouraged to vaccinate their dogs and cats against the fatal disease. “The individual who had contact with the bat is currently receiving vaccines for rabies,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD interim health officer. “Prompt administration of this treatment is highly effective in preventing rabies following exposure.” In the case of the human exposure, the bat was found in a backyard pool where the person was exposed. Washington State Public Health Laboratory (PHL) confirmed the bat positive for rabies late last week. Rabies is a preventable disease caused by a virus that people and other mammals can get through the bite, or rarely through the saliva, of a rabid animal. In Washington state, bats are the only carriers of rabies and rabid bats have been found in almost every county. A bat bite or scratch may not be seen or felt due to the small size of a bat’s teeth and claws. People usually come into contact with a bat when it gets into a home through small openings or open windows, when they wake up to find a bat in their room, or when pets bring them in the home. In the case of the cat exposure, the unvaccinated pet brought the bat into the owners’ home. Since there were no potential human exposures, the bat was sent to Oregon State University (OSU) for testing where rabies was confirmed, also last week. The cat is in quarantine until the window of time passes when it would exhibit symptoms. The two cases coincide with identification of a third rabid bat recently in Lewis County, Washington, in the central part of the state. On average, PHL tests approximately 280 bats per year for rabies from Washington state—roughly 13 of them test positive. In 2016, including three Washington bats confirmed by OSU to have rabies, a total of nine bats have tested positive from the state. A potential rabies exposure should never be taken lightly. Around the same time last year, a rabid bat bit a child in Spokane County, resulting in vaccination of both the child and mother. Again, if left untreated, rabies is fatal. The last reported human cases of rabies in Washington state were in 1997 and 1995. Continued Dr. McCullough, “Although most bats are harmless and do not carry rabies, people should never handle live or dead bats. To protect yourself and your loved ones, your safest bet is to simply presume that every bat is rabid.” If the health district determines that an exposure to a human may have occurred, a bat should—with proper precautions and support from SRHD—be tested for rabies. For pets. Washington state law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets in the state must have up-to-date rabies vaccines. If a pet comes into contact with a bat, the owner can choose to pay for shipping and testing of the bat, and the health district provides directions for the owner to quarantine pet. There is no need to test bats that have not come into contact with people or pets. Rabid animals may show unusual behavior or appear unstable and may become aggressive and attempt to bite people, pets and livestock. To protect yourself and your pets, SRHD offers these tips:
- If a person:
- Has contact with a bat,
- Finds a bat in the home, or
- Wakes up to find a bat in his or her room
- They should:
- wash any bite or wound with soap and water
- contact their doctor, clinic or emergency room
- contact Spokane Regional Health District Zoonotic Disease program (509) 324-1560 ext.7
- safely capture the bat, only if it can be done carefully. Use heavy leather gloves, a heavy towel, or tongs. Put it in a can and cover with a tight lid. Do not damage the head of the bat because the brain is needed for testing.
- Never touch a bat with bare hands, even a dead one. Do not disturb resting (“roosting”) bats.
- Always vaccinate pets—even indoor pets could be exposed to rabies if a bat gets into a home. Household pets and other animals can be exposed to the virus by playing with sick bats that can no longer fly normally.
- Bat-proof homes and cabins by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.
- Parents should teach their children to avoid bats and to let an adult know if they find one.
- Take precautions when camping, hunting or fishing. Avoid sleeping on the open ground without the protection of a closed tent or camper. Keep pets on a leash and do not allow them to wander.