Ways to Keep your Children Safe this Halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🎃

American SPCC would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! We hope you have fun and enjoy yourself, but please be safe.

 

Costumes, parties, trick-or-treating and candy…Halloween is an exciting time of year especially for children. It´s also the time of year with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities and child injuries. Other scary facts include, more than 70 percent of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk, and most of the deaths were children ages 12 to 15, followed by children 5 to 8.  (Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA))

Halloween and other fun Fall activities also provide the opportunity to get physical activity, to give out healthy snacks, and to focus on child safety.

Here are some tips to ensure a safe holiday:

ALL DRESSED UP:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flames.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories, look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

CARVING PUMPKIN TIME:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.<
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
    • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity
  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2017

EXTRA TIPS:

American SPCC reminds adults to drive extra carefully on Halloween.  Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and be alert as children on Halloween may move in unpredictable ways. Take your time, especially in residential neighborhoods, at intersections and on curbs. Enter and exit driveways and passageways slowly and cautiously. Be especially alert during the hours of 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., which tend to be the most popular hours for trick-or-treating.


American Society for the Positive Care of Children is committed to the safety and welfare of all children.  We are dedicated to advocating for children, promoting positive parenting solutions, and  ultimately helping to create a safer, healthier, and happier world for kids. 

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