Halloween’s excitement often causes children to forget to be careful. There is no single trick to making the fall holiday a treat, but paying attention to safety details can prevent harm. Trick-or-treaters who rush from house to house may increase their risk of slipping or falling or being involved in a motor vehicle pedestrian accident. Parents can overestimate children’s street-crossing skills. Likewise, children sometimes fail to evaluate potential traffic threats, have slower sensory perception and are unable to predict driver behavior.
Falls are the leading cause of injuries among children, often because of costumes or masks. Ill fitting or poorly made masks can really cause problems. Too big? Too small? Either can obscure vision or cause the child to trip. Consider using facial make up instead of masks. Make note of the following safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council.
• Make sure an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising children under age 12.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow & establish a return time.
• Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
• Teach children to stop only at well-lit homes and never to enter a stranger’s house.
• Tell youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home. Then inspect treats.
• Give children an early meal before going out.
• Use fire-retardant materials for costumes and make sure they are loose enough so that warm clothes may be worn underneath.
• Strips of reflective tape should be used to make children visible.
• Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
• Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
And reminders for the trick-or-treaters:
• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
• Walk, do not run, from house to house. Do not cross lawns where unseen objects or uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
And finally, reminders for motorists:
• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
• 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.
Enjoy Halloween with your family! I know I am anxious to see my 2 ½ year old granddaughter dressed as a witch.
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. She may be reached at (620)793-1910 or email@example.com.