Have a safe and spooktacular Halloween
Halloween can be a wonderful and whimsical night. Pirates and ghosts prowl the neighborhood looking for thrills, chills and chocolate. Childhood fantasies become temporary reality, leaving it up to parents to make sure their kids keep one tentacle on the ground.
With a little help from mom and dad, Halloween can be a fun-filled evening of imaginary scares - the one night of the year when it’s necessary, even fashionable, for parents to have eyes in the back of their heads.
Akron Children’s Hospital offers the following sound advice to keep this Halloween safe.
All dressed up
Loose-fitting sheets and darkened streets can create tricky situations for boys and ghouls. Yards and sidewalks may become treacherous after dark when mask eye holes are too small.
Keep your little tin man on his feet by following these safety tips.
- Use face paint or cosmetics on the face. It’s safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child’s vision and restrict breathing.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely and provides adequate vision. Enlarge eye holes if necessary. Beware of masks that restrict breathing. Have kids remove masks when they cross the street.
- Avoid costumes that dangle or trail on the ground. Costumes also should be warm and flame-resistant.
- Swords, knives and other accessories should be made out of soft, flexible material.
- Don’t let children cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are difficult to see in the dark.
Avoiding pedestrian injuries
As the armies of the living unfed roam the streets and pound on doors looking for candy and other sinister delights, the rules of the road must still be enforced. Even if it means dressing like a traffic cop and joining the fun, your parade of pedestrians must pass safely into the night.
- Use reflective tape on your little goblin’s costume to make her more visible to motorists.
- Remind children to stop at all corners and look left-right-left before crossing the street.
- Advise children to walk - not run - on the sidewalk, facing traffic.
- Children 10 years old and younger should never cross the street without an adult. Running into the street accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all pedestrian injuries among children ages 5 to 9. Remind kids not to dart out from between parked cars.
- Drive slowly through residential neighborhoods and watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs.
While many dangers your children experience on Halloween are followed by a playful shriek or giggle, walking alone in the dark presents risks no child should experience. At least one parent must accompany children as they make rounds.
Here are several other ideas to help you scare up a safe Halloween.
- Attach the name, address and phone number of your child to her costume.
- Trick-or-treat in familiar areas.
- Teach children never to go into homes.
- Inspect all the loot the kids bring home before it is eaten. Homemade treats and items not in their original wrappers should be discarded, unless you know where they came from. If fruit or candy looks tampered with, cut it up to check for pins or other hazards. Report any tampering to authorities.
- If they have a full meal before they start out, they’ll be less tempted to eat their treats before inspection. Take along a box of raisins to tide them over.
- Make sure kids are seated when they eat their treats. Choking most often occurs when a child is walking or running around with food. Avoid foods that cause the most fatal choking accidents, such as nuts, grapes, popcorn, round candy, hard cookies and apple chunks or slices.
Home safe home
- Keep your home safe for trick-or-treaters and remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Don’t use candles in outdoor jack-o’-lanterns. The pumpkins could be tipped over into dry grass or a child’s costume could brush the flame and catch fire.