Halloween is a time for fun and treats, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Falls are a leading cause of injuries among children. Because so many of them are out walking, about four times as many children ages 5 to 14 are killed in motor-vehicle-related accidents on Halloween night compared with other nights of the year. But many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents and children follow these tips from the National Safety Council, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control:
Parents designing costumes should:
- Buy costumes or wigs that are labeled flame retardant or flame resistant.
- Put reflective tape on the fronts and backs of kids’ costumes.
- Make sure children’s costumes fit loosely enough to allow for freedom of movement.
- Be sure that the hemline doesn’t fall below the ankle (to prevent tripping).
- Use knives that are made of cardboard or flexible material. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
- Avoid using masks, if possible, because they obstruct a child’s vision. Use face paint instead. Or, if a child really wants to wear a mask, make sure it has nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.
Children trick-or-treating should:
- Travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
- Walk, not run, from house to house.
- Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks and avoid crossing yards.
- Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
- Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult if they’re under age 12.
- Know their phone number and carry coins for emergency telephone calls. (Or carry a cell phone, if possible
- Bring candy home before eating it so parents can inspect it.
- Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
- Cross streets at the corner and use crosswalks. They shouldn’t cross between parked cars.
- Stop at all corners and stay together in a group while waiting to cross.
- Be reminded to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
Parents and adults at home should:
- Give kids a big meal before heading out to trick-or-treat so they’re not tempted to eat candy before they get home.
- Establish a return time for older children.
- Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns and sidewalks and by placing jack-o’-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
- Avoid doling out choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys as treats to young children.
- Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it. Watch for signs of tampering, such as small pinholes in wrappers and torn or loose packages.
- Drive slowly.
- Watch for children in the street and on medians.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
- Look for children in dark clothing once the sun goes down.
Sources: National Safety Council, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.