October is Halloween Safety Month, and it’s a time to ensure kids have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday. Planning is an important aspect of Halloween, and careful attention is often given to costumes, trick-or-treating activities, and candy selections. While focusing on Halloween preparations, it’s important to remember the safety elements that contribute to a healthy and positive Halloween. One of the best ways to ensure kids are safe during Halloween is to have an adult or responsible teen go trick-or-treating with them. All children under the age of 12 and sometimes even early teens should be accompanied when trick-or-treating.
Pedestrian visibility is of extreme importance during Halloween. Those accompanying children should take steps to ensure kids are visible when crossing streets or walking through neighborhoods. Costumes should include reflective materials and be of a safe length. Turn away from costumes that drag on the ground and could cause a child to trip or stumble. Oversized costumes also pose a fire hazard. Always choose costumes made of flame-resistant materials. Make sure costumes fit comfortably and don’t pose any hindrance when walking. If a costume doesn’t have reflective material, add items such as glow necklaces or bracelets to help increase visibility. A glow necklace or bracelet is an easy way to add visibility to any child’s costume. Give children flashlights to increase visibility, and trick-or-treat in well-lit areas that are familiar.
Masks can become problematic for children when trick-or-treating. When given the choice between face paint and masks, choose face paint. A mask can make it difficult for a child to see when crossing streets or walking through neighborhoods. Masks pose a safety risk, and face paint is preferable. Likewise, ensure that any costume accessories are safe and not constructed from sharp objects. Look for costume props that are made of Styrofoam or soft, flexible material to prevent accidental injuries to yourself or others. Today’s younger generation is used to mobile phones and tablets. Make sure that kids put the electronic devices away and don’t try to text and trick-or-treat.
It isn’t enough to plan ahead and prepare for a safe Halloween. Those accompanying children or going out on Halloween night must be aware of possible impaired or drunk drivers. It would be nice if all motorists would refrain from drinking and driving on Halloween, but the truth is that many people attend parties and engage in activities with alcohol. These people might get behind the wheel of a car and pose a dangerous threat to the children who are walking through the neighborhood. Make sure children stay on sidewalks and keep a watchful eye out for any motorists driving in a suspicious manner. Don’t break pedestrian rules because it is Halloween. Stay on the sidewalk and use crosswalks and the appropriate signals and lights when crossing streets. Motorists who plan on drinking on Halloween should secure alternative transportation.
Check with your local ordinances regarding rules surrounding Halloween. There is often a designated time set for trick-or-treating, as well as rules for sex offenders who live in the neighborhood. Some communities require sex offenders to post a sign on their door and are forbidden by law to give out candy. Most communities have a set curfew, so plan your activities accordingly. Stay away from homes that are dark or do not have a porch light on. Under no circumstance should children ever enter the residence to get candy or for any other reason.
Though it’s tempting for kids to eat their candy as soon as they get it, it is important for adults to check all candy. Studies show that the likelihood of tainted or poisoned candy is low, but still, it is important to double check all candy. If any candy is in an open package, discard it. By taking the time to plan ahead and using these tips, you can ensure your children have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween.
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