Halloween is upon us and it is an exciting time for children and adults alike! From pumpkin patches to haunted houses to cider mills there is so much to do and the main event for many kids every year is trick or treating. Trick or treating can be a great time for kids but for adults, safety is a top concern. According to the National Safety Council children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and injured or worse on Halloween than any other day of the year and October is number 2 in motor vehicle deaths next to August. In previous blogs, we have discussed safety when it comes to distracted driving and safety when it comes to distracted pedestrians. However, in this one, let’s discuss some tips to help keep you and your kiddos safe on Halloween as they try to collect as much candy as possible.
Walk safely. It is important to teach your children how to be a good pedestrian but also to demonstrate the act yourself. Cross at corners and use any traffic signals or crosswalks provided. Be sure to look left, right, then left again and remain aware of your surroundings as you cross. Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they walk in front of cars, to be sure that the driver is aware of their presence. Always use sidewalks or paths when possible, otherwise walk facing traffic as far to the side of the road as possible. Teach your child to be alert, aware, and conscious of what others are doing around them and to pay attention to things like turning or parked cars.
Use the buddy system. Young children should always trick or treat with a responsible adult. However, if your child is old enough to go out alone, teach them to always go with friends. Have them stick to local areas that are well lit and agree on a time when they should be home.
Keep costumes safe. A huge part of the fun of trick or treating is getting to dress up in a fun costume. Be sure to keep the costume safe while still being creative. Opt out of face masks as they can obstruct views and use non-toxic face paint instead. Test any face or body paints before using to verify no allergies or irritations occur. Make sure that all parts of the costume fit properly to avoid any trips or falls. If kids will be out past dark, use glow sticks or reflective tape to make sure they can be seen by other pedestrians and by drivers. Ensure that all parts of the costume are fire resistant.
Drive safely. With hundreds of kids and parents out trick or treating, make sure to pay close attention and not be a distracted driver. Drive slowly and be alert in residential areas. Exit and enter driveways and roads carefully and slowly. Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to be able to spot children and adults from further distances.
Check your candy. Most people know to check candy to ensure the package has no rips, tears or has been tampered with in any way. However, it is also very important to make sure that candy is appropriate for your child’s age group and diet needs. Be sure to ration candy so that your child doesn’t get ill from eating too much at once. Only eat factory-wrapped treats and avoid foods that are homemade or without wrappers.
Most importantly, have fun! Trick or treating is a great time when done safely. You can find more tips and ideas on the National Safety Council website at www.nsc.org.