It is that time of year again! Time when the leaves change colors, the air turns a little bit colder, and children everywhere pick out their best costumes in preparation for Halloween night. In fact, more than 40 million children will trick-or-treat nationwide on October 31st. While Halloween can be a wonderful time for children and families alike, it can also be a dangerous night. Every year, hundreds of children end up in the emergency rooms with injuries ranging from broken bones to more serious life-threatening head injuries. Shockingly, Halloween is one of the top three holidays responsible for injuries to children.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know where to start when you think about keeping your kids safe on Halloween night. In reality, Halloween safety starts by planning weeks ahead of time. From costume choices to mapping a safe and responsible trick-or-treating route, there are numerous ways you can reduce the likelihood of your child sustaining an injury on Halloween night.
Picking the Right Costume
Children love to get excited about their Halloween costumes. From superheroes to medieval knights, kids costumes can be elaborate or relatively simple. When helping your child pick a Halloween costume make sure his or her costume is easy to see through. Costumes should be bright and clearly visible to motorists. If you need to, be sure to attach bright or reflective tape to the outside of the costume. Also, be sure that your child's costume fits snuggly and properly. Ill-fitting costumes can cause your child to trip and fall when trick-or-treating and can lead to serious injuries. If you are making your child's costume, be sure you only use flame resistant materials and breathable fabrics.
Choose the right Accessories
Costumes often come with accessories – from swords and shields to princess tiaras. Be sure the swords and accessories you pick are the appropriate size for your child and do not interfere with your child's ability to walk, run, or have fun that night. They should also be made from a soft and flexible material to prevent scratches and cuts from occurring. Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from interfering with your child's ability to see – especially when crossing the street. If your child has a mask, be sure your child can see properly and turn his or her head to look for cars.
Teach Your Children Pedestrian Safety
Young children should be taught proper pedestrian safety. This includes walking on the sidewalk, not running, and always crossing the street with a grownup or responsible older child. If there are no sidewalks in your neighborhood, children should walk in groups with adults and on the side of the road rather than in the middle. Children should be taught not to run out from between parked cars or across lawns in the dark.
If houses have jack-o-lanterns or fire pits, teach children not to walk too closely to these items to prevent costumes from catching on fire. Children should also only go to homes where the residents are known and are welcoming of Halloween visitors. Children should never enter a home or an apartment without a responsible adult with them. Stranger danger is important – even on Halloween night.
Map Out a Safe Route
Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, it is important to map out a safe route for trick-or-treating. Decide what streets you will visit and what direction you will walk. If there are certain areas or houses that you wish to avoid, be sure everyone in your party knows where NOT to go and why. The best route is often the one that allows you to use sidewalks the most, go in an easy flow, and allows you to avoid crossing the street as much as possible. Also, be sure your children know what to do if they get separated from you that night.
These are just a few tips to help keep your children safe this Halloween. Look for our second part on Halloween Safety Tips coming later in the month. Here at the Law Offices of Victor Dante, we want you and your family to be safe this Halloween season – and we are committed to that cause.