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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun time for kids, but it is also an important time to be extra vigilant for possible safety hazards so that your children have a fun and safe Halloween.

Halloween-related activities occur primarily after dark which can limit the visibility of young pedestrians to drivers. This period of darkness is lengthened by the return to Standard Time, which immediately precedes Halloween.

In addition, children engaged in door-to-door trick-or-treat activities frequently do not cross streets at corners or crosswalks, a known risk factor for pedestrian collision.

According to the CDC, among children aged 5-14 years, an average of four deaths occurred on Halloween from 4 p.m. through 10 p.m. each year from 1975 – 1996, compared with an average of one death during these hours on every other day of the year.

In addition to pedestrian safety, other important concerns include costume safety, home decoration safety, and candy safety.

There are many ways to keep your child safe at Halloween.
The following tips should be considered by all adults and children as a guide to protect our kids during a night of trick-or-treating.

Costume Safety:

  1. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective by adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  2. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or contact with a flame.
  3. Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  4. Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
  5. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.
  6. Knives, swords and other props should be made of a flexible material, so that they don’t pose a hazard if fallen on.
  7. Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll”, should their clothes catch on fire.

Home Decoration Safety

  1. Use flashlights or chemical lightsticks as an alternative to candles when decorating.
  2. If you are to use candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, when lighting, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn including doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  3. Homeowners should prepare their home for trick-or-treaters by eliminating tripping hazards on their porch and walkway, restraining their dogs and other animals and lighting their house well.
  4. Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exit doors.
  5. While children can help with the fun of designing a Jack O’ Lantern, leave the carving to adults.
  6. Always keep Jack O’ Lanterns and hot electric lamps far away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children and pets will be standing or walking.
  7. Dried flowers and cornstalks are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
  8. Dry ice is often a decorating tool that creates a “fog” effect.  It is safe to use in punch bowls, but not in individual glasses.If swallowed, dry ice can burn the mouth and throat.  Direct contact with the skin can cause a frostbite-type injury, which may result in the discoloration of the skin, along with pain.Wash the affected area immediately with water if skin contact occurs and call your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for advice.

Trick-or-Treating Safety

  1. A Parent or responsible Adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  2. Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  3. Plan and review with your children the route which is acceptable to you.
  4. Do not permit children to bicycle, roller-blade or skateboard.
  5. Glow sticks and necklaces are other popular Halloween items and help make children visible at night.If punctured or chewed on the plastic tubes may leak and may cause skin irritation and a rash, irritation to the eyes; if ingested, it may cause nausea and burning.Parents should call the Poison Control Center at 1800-222-1222 for first aid treatment recommendations.
  6. Teach children their home phone number and to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.  Have them carry coins for phone calls.
  7. A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  8. Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.

Remind Trick-or-Treaters:

  1. Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
  2. Only trick-or-treat in well known neighborhoods at homes that have a porch light on.
  3. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  4. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  5. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  6. Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
  7. Always walk. Never run across a street.
  8. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.
  9. Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street or driveway.

Candy Safety

  1. Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that may be offered.
  2. No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an Adult at home.
  3. Tell children not to accept or eat anything that isn’t commercially wrapped or is homemade.
  4. Parents of young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.

After Trick or Treating:

  1. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats.
  2. Though tampering is rare, a responsible Adult should closely examine all candy wrappers for puncture holes and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  3. If you suspect someone has ingested tampered candy, call your regional Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, for assistance.
  4. Try to apportion treats for the days following Halloween.
  5. Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.