Granite Girl: Life in the Cloud – Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is supposed to be a fun event, but there are many dangers associated with the candy grabbing holiday. You may already have your child’s Halloween plans in place for trick or treating, but, how safe are they? Here are a few ideas on how you can make your haunt a little less scary.
If the costume is made of dark colors, you should add reflective tape to the front and back of the garments and give them glow sticks to carry along with their treat bucket to make sure drivers can see them as they cross the street. According to Safe Kids USA, on average, twice as many kids are hit by cars on Halloween than any other night of the year.
Stress to your children to only walk on the sidewalk and cross the street at a corner or marked crosswalk, not in the middle of the road. Kids don’t always pay attention to what they’re doing and, unfortunately, neither do some adults when they’re behind the wheel. Also, if you’re planning on driving your child to another area to trick or treat, follow the speed limit (and maybe drive a few miles an hour below the speed limit) and be on the lookout for ghosts and goblins out wandering around.
Make sure your little goblin tries the costume on first. If it’s too long, have it hemmed, otherwise it could get trapped in a car door, they could trip on it or it could trail too close to an open flame. If it’s supposed to be chilly, make sure the costume is roomy enough to wear warmer clothing underneath. If there is makeup associated with the costume, spread a little bit of it in an inconspicuous area first to test for allergies and irritation. If the costume comes with a mask, make sure the eye holes are big enough to see out of. If you’re not sure, cut bigger eye holes just to be sure. Children should also not be allowed to wear decorative, non-prescription contact lenses.
Leaving candles out in the open on your steps or even inside pumpkins can pose a risk. The National Fire Protection Agency says that Halloween is one of the top five days for candle fires. Keep candles and pumpkins with candles inside them away from curtains. You should instead opt for battery operated flameless candles or LED lights. They give off the ghastly glow without the risk of fire. Also, make sure any store bought costumes, wigs and masks are flame retardant. It should clearly state that on the label. If you can’t find any label saying that it’s flame retardant, leave it on the shelf.
Kids shouldn’t be allowed to trick or treat alone. There is safety in numbers. If your child is planning to go out trick or treating with friends, make sure there is a parent that will accompany them. This will lower the risk of older kids stealing treat bags and lower the risk that the group may try and cause trouble. Also, ask where your kids are planning on going for their tricks and treats. If it’s in an unfamiliar neighborhood, just say no. It’s also a good idea to have at least one person carry a flashlight, set a curfew and pin your child’s name address and phone number somewhere inside their costume, just in case they get separated from the group. Also stress that they should only go to clearly lit houses, never ever go inside a strange home and no snacking while they’re trick or treating.
Examine your child’s treat bag carefully and inspect everything they got. The Centers for Disease Control is urging parents to throw away any candy that has a wrapper that looks like its been tampered with, any candy that looks old or expired, anything that may pose a choking hazard, and never, ever allow your child to eat homemade treats from strangers.
Pumpkin carving is a great, fun, family activity that allows the creative juices to get flowing, but it can be very dangerous for little ones. Instead, give the kids washable markers and let them draw the silly faces themselves, but leave the cutting and carving part up to the adults. If they want to, let the kids scoop out the guts. Sure they’re slimy, but part of the fun is pretending what they could be. Eyeballs and brains, perhaps? Just make sure you have plenty of newspaper on hand.
If you’re going to be staying home and doling out the goodies, before trick or treat time, make sure your yard is safe. Put away any tripping hazards such as lawn ornaments, garden hoses, electrical cords and bikes. Make sure your outside lights are bright enough to see. If they’re dim or burned out, replace them before dark. If you have a particularly large or easily excitable dog that may scare kids away or a curious cat that may run out the door, make sure they’re in a safe location.