Halloween is a magical time for kids and adults have memories of being out in the dark dressed as ghouls, hockey players or ballerinas. Now Lady Gaga is a more likely costume - so many choices with her - but one thing the same is the need for safety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a press release on their website in October of 2012 and the safety tips provided are basic but timely and will help your children stay safe over Halloween. The group offers advice under five headings: 'All Dressed Up', 'Carving a Niche', 'Home Safe Home', ''On the Trick or Treat Trail' and 'Happy Halloween'.
All Dressed Up For Halloween
Under this heading is a reminder for parents to make sure costumes are bright and reflective and short enough to prevent tripping, getting tangled up or having contact with flame. You can add reflective tape for increased visibility. Make sure that shoes fit and costumes don't block vision and use non-toxic make-up. Buy only costumes with labels that say they are flame resistant and swords or canes should be neither sharp nor, to prevent stumbling or injury, too long.
Carving a Niche and Home Safe Home
They advise that small children do not partake in actual carving of a pumpkin but have them draw the faces etc. with markers. Flashlights or glow sticks are the better choice to light your pumpkin but if you use a candle make it a votive candle. Put pumpkins with candles on a sturdy table away from curtains and other flammable objects.
Under Home Safe Home they suggest you check the porch and any part of the yard your kids or trick or treaters will be using. Remove stuff kids could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Sweep leaves off of sidewalks and steps and no surface the kids use should be slippery. It's wise to restrain pets that might jump on or bite a child; most pets don't like the noise of Halloween anyhow.
On the Trick or Treat Trail
At least one adult should be with trick or treating kids and they should have a flashlight. For older children going alone, plan a route and agree on times to check back with you and when to arrive home. They, too, should have a flashlight and, if possible, a cell phone. Remind your children to only go to homes with a porch light on and never go into a home or car to get a treat.
The most common injuries to trick or treaters are from motor vehicles so discuss safety with all your kids. Adults sticking by the younger ones need to be extra vigilante when kids are crossing streets and near cars. Cross streets as a group at crosswalks, avoid alleyways and don't walk in between parked cars. Stay on sidewalks and always face traffic.
The AAP cautions against assuming the right of way and reminds that motorists may have trouble seeing trick or treaters. And just because one car stops don't assume the next one will. There's a lot going on so err on the side of slowness and caution. Once home check your kids candy; though tampering is rare it does occur. Throw out spoiled or unwrapped items and anything that looks suspicious.
Having a Healthy Halloween
It's not exactly a minefield of potential accidents on Halloween but there are things to think about and the steps suggested by the AAP are easy to implement. The bottom line is that all of us, kids and adults, deserve a fun and accident-free night of ghouls.
Halloween 2012 comes on a Wednesday, October 31, in North America, the U.K. and other countries of the world. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!