By Beth Summers, MD, PhD, Pediatric Hospitalist, in collaboration with St. Mary of the Woods BSN Nursing students
With Halloween just around the corner, it is important to remember a few safety tips to keep our young ones safe. Halloween is a cherished tradition that should be full of fun. It can also be a dangerous one. The major dangers are from falls and car accidents, not your ghouls and ghosts. To make sure this Halloween is a safe and fun night of treats and frights, follow these safety tips.
Choosing a Costume
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
- Add glow sticks or reflective tape to costumes or bags for better visibility.
- Check that costumes are short enough to prevent falls and that shoes fit properly.
- Ensure wigs and hair accessories are “flame resistant.”
- Secure hats properly to prevent sliding or blocking your child’s vision.
- Consider nontoxic makeup as a safe alternative to using masks which can impair visibility and the ability to breathe.
- Avoid anything sharp such as canes, swords or sticks and, instead, use cardboard or soft plastic.
If you’re having trick-or-treaters at your home:
- Make sure your walkways are safe.
- Remove any tripping hazards and clean the leaves and debris from the path.
- Keep the area well-lit and replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Restrain pets so they do not chase or jump on children.
If your family is trick-or-treating:
- Always accompany small children under the age of 12.
- Plan routes around the neighborhood for older children.
- Travel in small groups, if possible.
- Limit trick-or-treating to familiar neighborhoods or homes of people you know.
- Teach children to go to houses that have the porch light on and never enter a car or house for treats.
- Always walk, do not run, from house to house.
- Face traffic and stay on the sidewalks, not in the streets.
- Never cross through dark alleys or lawns.
- Watch for cars that may be backing up or turning into driveways.
Motorists need to be especially careful during trick-or-treat times. Popular hours are usually from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. but check your local times to increase your safety and that of trick-or-treaters. Additional tips for drivers include:
- Slow down and take extra time to look for children.
- Enter driveways and alleys with extreme caution as these are areas with little to no light.
- Remember that costumes can limit a child’s visibility and they may not be able to see you.
- Reduce distractions such as your phone so that you can concentrate on your surroundings.
Finally, instruct your children not to eat any candy until an adult has inspected it. Throw out any candy with torn packages or holes. Never eat homemade treats from someone you do not know.
Halloween is one of the most exciting nights of the year and a great time to make memories. Make safety a part of your planning and have a spectacular time!