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Halloween Safety Tips from Safe Kids Worldwide and other safety groups
Before you let your Darth Vader, Disney princess, ghosts and goblins out the door next Tuesday night for the annual Halloween trick or treating, Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW) and other child safety organizations have suggestions for both parents and their kids. Sadly, SKW reports that on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.
First and foremost, children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are old enough and mature enough to be out without adult supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Halloween safety groups also recommend that costumes be both creative and safe:
- Choose face paint and makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Long, flowing costumes are most likely to cause trips and falls.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers, even when trick or treating with adults.
Observe pedestrian safety tips:
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing streets and be mindful of traffic as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up; better yet, have children leave electronic devices at home. If older children are trick or treating without an adult, instruct them to use electronic devices only in an emergency.
- Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Always walk, never run, across the street (you are more likely to trip and fall when running).
- Teach children to make eye contact with cars and their drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Teach children to never dart out into the street and never cross the street between parked cars.
For adults – Drive with extra caution on Halloween:
- Slow down!
- Avoid driving in residential neighbors, if possible.
- Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in abrupt and unpredictable ways.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put your cell phone in the truck or glove compartment to eliminate temptation.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for children during those hours.
All candy and treats should be carefully inspected by an adult prior to consumption by anyone. Never consume home-made items as Halloween treats unless made by someone an adult knows very well.
Another safety recommendation for Halloween is to secure your pets for the evening, in the house, if possible before trick or treating begins. The additional noise and commotion can cause animals to act in unpredictable ways and they are more likely to become confused and flee if not restrained or indoors.
Lastly, many cities, churches, schools and community groups host safe, and often free, Halloween events. Halloween festivals in parks, fall harvest events at churches and trunk-or-treating events at various locations are often good and fun alternatives to the traditional trick or treating.
Regardless of your plans for Halloween, observe all safety tips and have a “spook-tacular” Halloween.