Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to child safety. There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury.
Mackenzie Rice, sister of Zack Rice, who began the Action For Distraction 5K benefitting Goryeb Children’s Hospital, provides these Halloween safety tips:
On the Trick-or-Treat Trail
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries and/or glow sticks for all children and their escorts.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
Trick-or-Treating without an Adult
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Plan and review a route acceptable to you.
- Agree on a specific time children should return home.
- Teach your children only to go to homes with a porch light on and never to enter a stranger's home or car.
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
All Dressed Up
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup along with decorative hats whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first, and make sure you remove all makeup before children go to bed.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional, as it can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
Drive Extra Safely on Halloween
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped.