Halloween-related events are taking place throughout our community with haunted houses, mazes, costume parties, trunk or treat or similar events. For most people, Halloween is meant to be a fun time for children, but all too often what was intended to be pure fun, turns into tragedy.
The best Halloween safety tips we have seen come from Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
• Children younger than 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks;
• Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk — don’t run — across the street;
• Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them;
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings; and
• Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Trick or treat with an adult
• Children younger than the age of 12 should not be out at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out on their own, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Keep costumes both creative and safe
• When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls;
• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light color;
• Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision; and
• Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
Double check candy and costumes
• Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them;
• Remind children to eat only treats in their original, unopened wrappers;
• Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded or torn, or if the candy is unwrapped;
• While glow sticks are good for visibility, remember that the liquid in glow sticks is also hazardous, so parents should remind children not to chew on or break them; and
• Look for non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup.
Drive extra safely on Halloween
• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways;
• Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs;
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully;
• Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings; and
• Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
We are glad to be able to share these tips from Helms and wish everyone in our community a happy, and safe, Halloween season.