Kids love the magic of Halloween: Trick-or-treating, classroom parties and trips to a neighborhood haunted house. But for moms and dads, often there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns.
Costume Safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- 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 flame.
- 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 so they don’t slide over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to make sure 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. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” using 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 a Niche
- 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 [or battery-operated candle] instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest [battery-operated votive candles are also available and are very inexpensive].
- 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.
Home Safe Home
- 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.
On the Trick-or-Treat Trail
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- Have 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 cell phone 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. 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.
Safety Tips for Massachusetts Motorists
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween
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