Halloween Safety Tips
As families put the final touches on costumes and prepare bowls of candy for trick-or-treaters, the fun of Halloween can overshadow real safety risks associated with the holiday. The following suggestions can help families ensure their children arrive home safe and sound after the big night.
Visibility is Vital
Many car accidents occur when motorists fail to see trick-or-treaters. Children should wear bright costumes or add reflective tape or striping to dark outfits to increase visibility as they travel throughout the neighborhood. Look for lit pumpkins or reflective trick-or-treat bags to carry candy while staying safe at the same time.
Pedestrian-related car accident injuries are the most common injuries experienced by children on Halloween. Families should stay in a group, especially when crossing a street, use sidewalks rather than cutting across driveways, stick to well-lit streets, and always use designated crosswalks. Crossing between two parked cars or in front of driveways can be especially dangerous. Trick-or-treaters should walk along the road facing traffic in places where there is no sidewalk. Pedestrians should never assume they have the right of way when a car is turning or crossing in their path.
Avoid Tripping Hazards
Costumes that are too long or contain trailing pieces can present significant tripping hazards for children. To prevent entanglements and falls, costumes should be short enough on the bottom to allow for easy walking. Masks, wigs, or hats that slide down and obscure a child’s vision can be especially problematic as they attempt to navigate neighborhoods in the dark. Decorative contact lenses also can affect the wearer’s vision. Even extra costume props, such as swords or canes, can lead a child to trip or stumble. Older trick-or-treaters should leave their cell phones in their pockets while walking along sidewalks and crossing streets. Distracted walking can result in serious accidents if individuals fail to stop at intersections or give the right of way to cars.
Homeowners should inspect their property to make sure all tripping hazards are removed prior to the start of trick or treating. Items such as electrical extension cords, garden hoses, lawn or porch decorations, toys, and bikes can cause slip and falls. Making sure all outdoor lights are properly working, restraining pets who may startle guests, and removing wet leaves from sidewalks and steps are important steps when preparing a home for a safe night of Halloween visitors.
Be Aware of Fire Risks
Many costumes are made of highly flammable material, creating a fire risk. The use of candles in carved pumpkins to create a spooky atmosphere should be monitored to ensure flames are away from curtains or other objects that could quickly catch on fire. Candles should never be left unattended outside or on porches. Using glow sticks or a flashlight is a safe alternative to candlelight.
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