Halloween Safety Tips
Trick-or-treat? Trundling from house to house under bed sheets and super-hero costumes is one of the most visible traditions of Halloween. It is, of course, socially expected that if your neighborhood has children you should purchase candy in preparation for trick-or-treaters. In fact, the National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of adults in America planned to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating. Meanwhile, parents and other stakeholders should keep safety in mind while preparing for Halloween this year.
MotoristsThe National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween and offers the following driving tips:
- 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.
- If you are driving children, be sure they exit on the curb side, away from traffic.
- Do not wear a costume mask while driving.
- Watch for children in dark clothing, especially at twilight.
Before They Go OutBefore children start out on their "trick or treat" rounds, parents should make sure that:
- An adult will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
- Children travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
- Children know to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger's home.
- At least one child in the group has a cell phone, if possible.
- A return time has been established.
- Youngsters understand not to eat any treat until you have inspected it.
- Know the names of companions in the group, especially with older children.
- Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules with the children.
- Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
- Costumes should be loose, so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
- Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard, as falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.
- Outfits should be made with light-colored materials. Strips of reflective tape should be used to make children even more visible.
- For youngsters under the age of 12, attach their names, addresses and telephone numbers (including their area code) inside their clothes worn underneath.
- Masks can obstruct a child's vision. Facial make-up is safer and more colorful.
- When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," "Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic." Follow manufacturer's instruction for application.
- If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.
- Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
- Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if trick-or-treaters are allowed out after dark.
- Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
On The WayChildren should understand and follow these rules:
- Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
- Walk from house to house. Do not run. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
- Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, if there are no sidewalks.
TreatsTo ensure a safe and enjoyable trick-or-treat outing for children, parents are urged to:
- Give children an early meal before going out.
- Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
- Wash fruit, and slice it into small pieces.
- Report to the police anything that appears suspicious about treats.
- When in doubt, throw it out.