Halloween Safety Tips
The only scares on fright night should come from ghosts and goblins
Little ghouls, pirates and zombies are usually more adorable than frightening. But when kids walk streets in the dark and candles burn near flowing costumes, fright night can turn scary for real.
There is a big increase in fires, burns and falls, during
Halloween says UL. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC),
more than 3,500 Halloween-related injuries including falls, burns, lacerations
and collisions were reported in 2011.
Car accidents produce another chilling statistic: Children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by cars on Halloween than at other times of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
Follow this advice from UL, Safe Kids Worldwide and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make sure your little ones
have a spook-tacular time without getting hurt.
Buy flame resistant costumes. By law, costumes must be flame resistant, but check the label to be sure. This won’t prevent it from burning but it may buy you some time.
Keep kids from getting burned. Avoid costumes with
billowing capes or baggy sleeves that can get caught in the flame of a burning
candle. UL has burned costumes, and it’s clear that the fuzzy or frilly
costumes like princess dresses do catch on fire quicker. No matter what they're
wearing, teach your children to steer clear of candles.
Brighten up. On dark costumes put some reflective tape on or on their bags so they will be seen at night. It's also a good idea, he says, to give each kid a glow stick and a flashlight with fresh batteries.
Prevent tripping. Insist on practical, well-fitting shoes and costumes that don’t drag on the ground so your princess doesn’t trip while moving from house to house. This may mean hemming the train or cutting off the end of it.
Related: Halloween Décor Safety Smarts
Consider ditching the mask. Let’s face it, masks are rarely fun to wear. Most of us probably remember suffering through at least one Halloween in a sweaty mask that made it hard to see.
Encourage your child to consider face paint or makeup instead. If he insists on a mask, make sure the eyeholes are big enough that he can see clearly, and make sure he can breathe. If your child opts for face paint, the CDC advises looking for a non-toxic brand, testing a small amount before the big day and washing it off before bedtime.
Keep toy swords, knives and other weapons short, soft and flexible. This will help protect kids from injury if they trip and fall.
Watch out for traffic. Before your kids head out on Halloween night, review these pedestrian safety tips with them.
- Walk on sidewalks, not streets, if possible. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks when available.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put down the electronics and try to make eye contact with drivers before stepping out to cross the street.
- Walk, don’t run, across the street.
Clear the way for little goblins. Whether you’re expecting one or one hundred trick-or-treaters, make sure your walkway and front porch are well lit (replace any burned-out bulbs) and free from tripping hazards such as garden tools and extension cords. While you’re at it, sweep slippery wet leaves from the walkway.
Trick or treat with your kids. Safety experts recommend an adult accompany all children under 12 on Halloween. If your child is very young, you may want to pin her name, address and phone number on her costume in case you get separated.
Tell older kids to take the usual precautions. They should trick or treat only at well-lit houses and never enter the house or car of a stranger.
Consider leaving your dog at home. As cute as costumed pets may be, the Humane Society recommends leaving Fido in a quiet room at home while you trick-or-treat. Loud noises and costumes can frighten them, and a bite or a lost dog can turn the celebration into a nightmare.
Toss unwrapped candy. Inspect your children’s candy before they dive in. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that if the wrapper is faded or torn, or it the candy isn’t wrapped, it’s best to throw it away.