Tips to Keep Your Family Safe at Halloween

Kids love the magic of Halloween, and parents enjoy preparing them for and sharing the holiday with them.  But unfortunately, the evening poses many risks as well. One scary statistic from the NHTSA is that a child is 50-75% more likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day.  And that’s not the only hazard.  The FDA has suggestions for avoiding many other hazards, and here are our top tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween.

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

  • Plan light, bright, and reflective costumes. Reflective tape or striping can also be added to costumes and bags for greater visibility.
  • Masks can make it hard to see; consider hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint or makeup and decorative hats (properly sized so they don’t obstruct vision) as an alternative.
  • To prevent tripping, costumes and shoes should not be too big.
  • Check that costuming materials are labeled flame resistant.
  • Give your kids light sticks or flashlights to increase visibility.
  • Put your child’s name, address, and phone number on their costume.
  • A responsible adult should accompany children under 10. Make sure older kids are in a group of at least three.  Plan the safest route with them, provide a cell phone, and have them call before any change in plans.
  • Feed them well before they leave and tell them not to eat any treats until they get home.
  • Inspect treats for signs of tampering, unusual appearance or discoloration, tears in wrappers, etc.. Throw away anything suspicious.  Choking hazards such as peanuts, hard candies, small toys, and gum may need to be removed for very young children. Some treats may be inappropriate for kids with allergies.
  • Never allow small kids to carve pumpkins. They can draw a face with a marker, parents can do the cutting, and smaller kids can enjoy the “yuck” of removing seeds and pulp.  To prevent hand injuries, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand recommends using the small pumpkin saws found in carving kits (sold with other Halloween goods), rather than a large sharp blade.

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids

  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Walk, don’t run across streets and cross at intersections; avoid crossing between parked cars.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on.
  • Never enter a home or a car for a treat.
  • Stay with your group and remain on well-lit streets.
  • Don’t eat treats until your parents have seen them.

Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners

  • Turn on porch and other outdoor lights; replace burned out bulbs.
  • Keep porch and front yard clear of tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, wires, toys, bikes, tools, and lawn decorations.
  • Clear wet leaves from sidewalks and steps to prevent slipping and falls.
  • Restrain pets so they can’t jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.  Children between 5 and 9 are victims of animal bites more than any other age group, with 9-14 year-olds the next most frequent victims of animal bites.

Halloween Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Go slow in residential neighborhoods; excited kids move in unpredictable ways.
  • Be especially alert during the popular trick-or-treating hours from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys especially slowly and carefully.
  • This is probably not the evening for new and inexperienced drivers to be out on the roadways.

Have a wonderful and fun Halloween with your kids!  We hope these tips can help make a safe and happy holiday for everyone.

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