Halloween can be tricky because it poses dangers for children. But here are some guidelines parents can use to help make sure the holiday is a treat for all.
1) Make sure your children can see and be seen.
When crowds of trick-or-treaters are walking through neighborhoods, visibility becomes a top concern. Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. And since there is increasingly less daylight, parents and children need to remember that it will be darker a bit earlier on Halloween night and plan accordingly.
● Light- and bright-colored costumes can help make children easier
to see but may not be enough. Use reflectors or reflective tape to decorate costumes and sacks. Remember, a car traveling at 60 mph needs 260 feet to stop completely. Reflectors make your children visible at 500 feet.
● Avoid masks as they can impair a child’s vision. Makeup or
nontoxic face paint is a better alternative.
● Ensure better visibility and decrease the risk of falling by
providing trick-or-treaters with flashlights.
● Make sure children understand and obey all traffic regulations,
such as looking both ways before crossing streets.
2) Dress little ghosts and goblins for success.
The most important part of the evening is picking out that just-right costume. Parents and others can help by making sure costumes are safe too.
● Check that costumes fit properly, avoiding those that drag on
● Be careful of long flowing skirts, belts or loose ends that
could catch fire or cause your child to trip or fall.
● Reduce the risk of injury by making sure accessories such as
knives, swords and other props are made of flexible material or cardboard.
● Attach contact information on children’s costumes in case
children get separated, and make sure they know their phone number.
Provide older children with a means of calling home.
3) Be careful around candles, and if possible use alternatives.
Textile manufacturers are no longer required by law to make costumes flame-retardant, so it is up to you to help reduce the chance of fire-related injuries during Halloween.
● Candle-lighted jack-o-lanterns are a great way to light your
porch and welcome kids, but an open flame is a danger, especially with gauzy costumes. Try tap lights or glow sticks instead.
● Don’t allow children to carry lanterns or candles with an open
flame while trick-or-treating. Electric candles or a flashlight (with new batteries) are much safer choices.
● Anyone hosting trick-or-treaters should make a point of clearing
yards of debris and marking a well-lit path to reduce the risk of falling. Avoid using candles or other open flames to mark paths.
4) Superheroes need supervision.
Even Batman had a reliable companion, and your little costumed character should have one, too, on Halloween especially.
● Parents or other adults should always accompany children while
they’re out and about. In particular, children under 10 should not go out without adult supervision.
● Parents should only take children trick-or-treating at the homes
of their neighbors and trusted friends.
5) Save the sweet tooth for later.
There are a few things parents need to remember about the candy and other treats that children collect on their route.
● Parents should always inspect the candy before children are
allowed to eat it. To keep kids from being tempted to snack before parents have a chance to inspect the loot, make sure they have something healthy to eat before going out.
● Because candy can be a choking hazard for toddlers, be sure to
remove inappropriate treats from their goody bags.
● Since trick-or-treating is an evening activity, it’s a good
idea to limit the amount of candy eaten before bed as excessive sugar intake could keep children awake well past bedtime.
By following these Halloween safety tips, not only do you get to share in a fun night with your children, but you also can help make sure it’s a safe too.
MCG Health, Inc. (d/b/a MCGHealth) is a not-for-profit corporation operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children’s Medical Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient facilities and services throughout the state. For more information, please visit mcghealth.org.