"Trick or treat!" - Tips to keep your ghouls and goblins safe this Halloween
by Jessica Brewer
Halloween is just around the corner! This means happy kiddos, falling leaves and fun costumes. LMH Health wants to make sure that you and your children are safe while trick-or-treating and enjoying this fun holiday.
Deciding what to be for Halloween is one of the most exciting things for a child. Whether they decide to be a princess, a superhero, a pumpkin or a ghost, make sure that their costume is safe and visible. Research conducted by Safe Kids reports that on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. It is important that before your kids leave the house for the evening, they have some type of reflective tape on their costumes or trick-or-treat bags at all times for greater visibility.
It is also important that their vision is not obstructed. Ginny Barnard, LMH Health Community Outreach and Engagement specialist, said that it is important for kids to be able to easily see their surroundings.
“Make sure if your child is wearing a mask or makeup, they have sufficient visibility,” Barnard said. “Additionally, make sure your child’s costume isn’t too long or too big. If they have a sword or a broom, try to attach it somewhere on a belt or their back to have both hands available for better balance.”
While shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for labels that indicate they are flame resistant. Try to stay away from accessories that are sharp or excessively long to avoid being easily hurt if your child were to trip or fall.
“If you and your kiddo are making their costume, try to use synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester because these materials are less likely to ignite,” Barnard said. “When you think about it, there are actually more fire hazards around on Halloween than you realize, so it is important to be careful of flames.”
When you send your kids off to hunt for candy, Safe Kids advises that children under 12 should trick-or-treat with an adult. Twelve percent of children ages 5 and under are permitted to trick-or-treat alone. Make sure there is a responsible chaperone nearby and that you and your kids only go to neighborhoods you know. If your older children will be going trick-or-treating alone, make sure that they are aware of the route and carry a cell phone for quick communication.
“Children get very excited on Halloween and they will dart across the street without looking for any cars,” Barnard said. “This is extremely risky. Let your kids know to walk on the sidewalk at all times. If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the left-hand side of the street, facing traffic.”
Barnard said that a big fear for parents can be someone tampering with their children’s candy, wondering if there are harmful chemicals, razor blades or other scary things. Though this fear is very unlikely to be realized, make sure that they don’t eat their candy until they get home so you can scan it quickly to double-check that everything is fine.
If, after the candy trading fun is over, you need to clear out some of the pounds of candy your children received, there are businesses around town who offer a candy buy-back program. Some offer money per-pound and others offer small gifts or incentives. The candy is often donated to local non-profits and other organizations.
Though much of the focus is on child safety, it is important to mention adult safety and measures adults should take to keep others safe.
While children are shorter and less visible, pedestrian fatalities also happen for adults on Halloween. Be very aware of your surroundings and don’t cross the street without reflective gear or without a pedestrian walk sign. Travel in groups and have designated friends to stay with all night.
If you are the designated driver for the night, be very cautious when driving, especially in neighborhoods. Be wary of children running out in the middle of the road at any time.
“If you are handing out candy this year, be mindful of food safety,” Barnard said. “Only give out store-bought, wrapped candy. Though homemade treats seem like a wonderful idea, you never know what food allergies children have. Even if your treat doesn’t contain certain ingredients they may be allergic to, you don’t want to take the risk.”
Safe Kids said only a third of parents talk to their kids annually about Halloween safety, even though three quarters report having Halloween safety fears. Before your princes and princesses head out on Halloween evening, make sure you chat about safety precautions before you all leave for the festivities.
“Have a pre-Halloween chat with your kiddos to make sure they feel safe and secure this Halloween,” Barnard said. “Have a plan, be safe and prepare for a fun and exciting holiday!”
Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communications specialist at LMH Health.