Halloween is the time of year for tricks and treats, costumes and sweets. But this night of spooky fun for your little ghouls and goblins also can be filled with potential dangers. However, a recent study by Safe Kids USA indicates that only one-third of parents discuss Halloween safety with their children every year.
Pedestrian safety tops the Halloween hazard list. Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than the rest of the year, making it one of the most dangerous days for child pedestrians.
“A lot of kids go trick-or-treating in the dark, when it’s harder for drivers to see them,” said St. Joseph’s Children’s Advocate Bevin Maynard. “It’s important for parents to remind children about walking safely before they leave their house.”
Maynard suggests that kids carry flashlights or glow sticks, use reflective trick-or-treat bags or have reflective tape on their costumes, and use face paint instead of masks, which can make it hard for kids to see where they’re going.
“Typically, children under age 12 should not trick-or-treat without adult supervision,” said Maynard. “If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital reminds parents of the following tips for keeping kids safe:
For Costume Safety, Use:
For Safe Trick-Or-Treating:
- Light or bright colors
- Flame-resistant material
- Reflective tape
- Non-toxic face makeup rather than masks
- Small, flexible costume props
- Shoes that fit
- Tags with the child’s name, address and phone number
- Costumes not made of flimsy or billowy material, which can cause children to trip
Driving Safely on Halloween:
- Have an adult accompany children
- Carry a flashlight Stop at street corners
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
- Never walk between parked cars
- Walk on well-lit sidewalks and paths
- Never cut across yards
- Stop only at houses with outside lights on
- Carefully check treats before letting children eat them
A Safe Home Front for trick-or-treaters:
- Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road.
- Take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians.
- Put away anything trick-or-treaters could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Turn the lights on to ensure good visibility at your door and the walkway leading up to it.
- Control your pets.
- Instead of sugary treats, consider handing out healthier snacks such as individual packs of raisons, trail mix or pretzels, or items such as stickers, Play-Doh, glittery pencils or rubber insects.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: To schedule an interview with a child safety expert on Halloween safety, please contact Amy Gall at (813) 870-4731 or by email at Amy.Gall@BayCare.org