Dressing up for Halloween can make children feel larger than life, and sometimes indestructible or magical. Adults, however, know that kids are as vulnerable on Halloween as at any other time, and maybe more so, since children’s excitement about the holiday shifts their focus away from potential Halloween hazards. Every parent should be prepared and aware of basic Halloween safety tips to keep the holiday fun and incident free.
Taking some extra precautions to ensure a safe Halloween is one way that parents can preserve their peace of mind. Here are some safety tips for before the holiday and on Halloween night itself:
Make sure that store-bought costumes or those you create yourself are made of flame-resistant materials. If your children’s costumes are not bright in color, add some reflective tape so that drivers can be able to see your trick-or-treaters as they cross streets. Make sure your child’s costume is not too long and that shoes are tied tightly, to avoid tripping. Put a name tag with address and phone number somewhere in your little one’s costume, and put a small flashlight in a pocket or treat bag.
Plan the route
Decide when you will take the kids for trick-or-treating. It’s a good idea to stay in neighborhoods you know well and to approach only houses that are well lit. Keep a cell phone with you to communicate any problems along the way. Advise older youngsters to travel in groups and keep their phones handy, and to call or text you if they have concerns. Know the routes that your older kids plan to take, and set a reasonable curfew.
Tell young children not to eat any candy or other food from trick-or-treating without checking with you or another responsible adult. Inspect all edible treats your child brings home, to assure that they are all sealed and that there are no foreign objects in them and no other issues that would prevent safe consumption. It’s a good idea to give kids a meal before they head out so that they’re not tempted to dig into their treat bags before you have a chance to inspect the booty.
Clear the path
Keep in mind safety tips for others as well! Check out the walkway to your house to make certain it is free of debris or other objects that might make trick-or-treaters trip. Make sure that exterior lights stay on for visibility. Keep any pets that might scare children – such as barking or jumping dogs – away from the door. Make sure candy or other treats you give out do not present a choking hazard for the little ones.
Consider Halloween as a teaching opportunity to instill personal safety basics in children before Halloween night. Tell the kids not to enter the house of any stranger or lone occupant while trick-or-treating, and not to approach an unknown driver or pedestrian who beckons them. Remind kids to be aware of traffic, particularly in congested areas, and encourage them to stay on sidewalks and only cross at street corners. Make sure that little ones know their home phone number, in case they become separated from you.
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.
On 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.
Because kids are excited and easily distracted, as they dart about on Halloween night, taking these simple Halloween safety precautions should help everyone to have a secure and happy holiday.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!