Preventing Halloween Accidents

For a kid on Halloween, the greatest fear is not getting enough candy. For their parents, concerns abound:  dark streets, crowds, candy from strangers, and everyone’s heightened sense of mischief can make for some anxiety on this holiday. Some concern, and a healthy dose of caution, are good things — read on for some simple precautions to help you prevent any Halloween pain this year.

Car accidents are one of the biggest problems with Halloween each year. Visibility and an excess of caution are the best ways for pedestrians to avoid them: make costumes easier to see in the dark by adding light-colored clothing or accessories and affixing light-reflecting tape or flashing safety lights (often available in clip-on form) to outfits. Kids are prone to darting into the street without warning, so hold their hands whenever possible and stress the importance of stopping at all intersections and looking both ways before crossing. On the drivers’ side, be extra vigilant, especially around driveways and alleys; drive slowly so you can stop in time if someone runs out suddenly, and keep your lights on. Never drive under the influence.

Aside from making them more visible, up the safety factor of costumes by making sure they’re made of flame-resistant material and adjusting hemlines, which can be tripping hazards. Test makeup on a small patch of skin before applying it in case of an allergic reaction, and use paint instead of masks (which can obscure vision) if possible.

Young children should be accompanied by an adult, but if even if you’re comfortable with your older children doing their trick-or-treating alone, set up some guidelines. Choose a route you feel is appropriate, and agree on a time for them to return home. Stress to them the importance of staying in well-lit areas and that they should never go into someone’s home — or car — to accept candy.

Safety begins at home, too: make your house safer by clearing the driveway and entrance of anything that could be a tripping hazard, and add extra lights to the yard and porch if possible. Consider lighting Jack-o-Lanterns with electric bulbs instead of real candles, but if you do use flames, keep them out of reach of both hands and feet. When carving pumpkins, don’t allow young kids to handle knives; choose a child-safe kit for the little ones and supervise the older ones closely.

Have a happy, safe Halloween!


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