Halloween can be a scary night for parents, but not because of the ghosts and ghouls. Trick-or-treating presents a lot of safety hazards to children, including pedestrian accidents, suspicious candy, and unsafe costumes.
At Buckfire Law, our accident attorneys have years of experience with client injuries, both major and minor. Here are their recommended tips for avoiding injury and having a safe and spooky Halloween night, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Safety Council.
Choose Safe Halloween Costumes
Halloween costumes are meant to be a fun way for children to dress up as their favorite superheroes, cartoons, and characters. However, some costumes can actually pose safety threats to your child, so it is best to choose wisely.
- Many Halloween costumes come in very dark colors, making trick-or-treaters difficult to see for drivers. To ensure that your child can be seen from a car, consider a more brightly colored costume, or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags.
- Make sure that your child's Halloween costume fits well and is not too long, to avoid tripping, entanglement, and accidental contact with flame.
- Be aware that masks can obstruct vision. If your child's costume involves wearing a mask, be sure that they can see well out of it, or consider substituting makeup or a hat in its place.
- If your child's costume includes makeup, make sure that it is non-toxic. It is also a good idea to test the makeup before the big day on a small patch of skin, to ensure that your child doesn't have any kind of reaction to it.
- Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin irritation.
- Make sure that all aspects of your child's costume are labelled as flame resistant.
- Decorative contact lenses should only be obtained from an eye care professional. Decorative contact lenses obtained without a prescription can cause pain, inflammation, infections, and potentially even vision loss.
Trick-or-Treating Dos & Don'ts
Many parents are nervous about allowing their children to walk around at night and approach strange houses, and rightfully so. Following these tips should help to put your nerves at ease:
- Young children should always be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating. A larger group should have several chaperones.
- If your children are older and will be trick-or-treating without an adult, plan their route with them ahead of time and make sure they know the area well. Agree on a time for them to return home.
- It is a good idea to bring flashlights or glow sticks with you as you trick-or-treat, to improve visibility.
- Always stay on well-lit streets and walk on the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. Avoid cutting across yards or through dark alleys.
- Make sure that your children know to never enter homes or cars for candy.
- Instruct your children to wait until you've returned home to eat any candy. Before they dig in, inspect their bags and keep an eye out for spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
Remember -- motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters, so it is especially important to be a cautious pedestrian on Halloween. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. With this in mind, remember to only cross the street at crosswalks, and discourage your children from running between houses and streets.
Tips for Drivers on Halloween Night
Trick-or-treaters must practice caution as pedestrians on Halloween, but motorists must do their part as well.
With significantly more pedestrians than usual, many of whom are small children, it can be precarious driving on this holiday. On top of that, visibility is especially low, as many pedestrians are dressed in dark costumes. It is imperative to be extra alert and cautious as a driver on Halloween.
- Keep an eye out for children walking on roads, medians, and curbs.
- When backing out of driveways or exiting narrow alleyways, be very careful and drive very slowly.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
Prep Your Home for Visiting Trick-or-Treaters
It is important to remember that while you're out trick-or-treating with your kids, other children will most likely be walking up to your home in search of candy.
To keep visiting trick-or-treaters safe, prep your home with the following steps:
- Check your outdoor lighting and repalce any burned-out light bulbs.
- Remove from the front yard any tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations.
- Wet leaves or snow should be removed from walkways.
- Keep your pets inside or restrain them to avoid scaring or injuring trick-or-treaters.
- If your decorations include candlelit pumpkins, they should be kept on a sturdy table, away from any flammable objects. They should also be removed from any porch or path where visitors may pass close by.
Halloween doesn't have to be a scary holiday. If you follow these tips, you'll be able to focus on having a fun, memorable night with your friends and family.
Accidents do happen, though, and if you are injured this Halloween, we are here to help. We handle personal injury cases of all kinds, including dangerous product, slip & fall, pedestrian accidents, and food poisoning.
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