By: Donna Devita
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Halloween time is almost here! Time for trick-or-treating, costume contests, and festive celebrations. Unfortunately, Halloween is more than just a time for spooky fun- it’s also a night full of hazards and dangers that could cause serious injuries to your children and family members.
Halloween is the most dangerous holiday for children when it comes to being out on the streets. The National Safety Council (NSC) reported children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle on Halloween night than any other day of the year. In research conducted by Sperling’s Best Places and State Farm®, over 60% of these accidents occurred within the four hour period between 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and nearly 25% of these fatal accidents occurred within what’s considered the ‘Deadliest Hour’ between 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Dark streets, limited visibility, and increased distractions can prove deadly on Halloween if pedestrians and drivers are not staying alert while out for the night. Safe Kids Worldwide’s promotes a Halloween safety campaign, Be Safe, Be Seen, that encourages trick-or-treaters, pedestrians, and drivers to be smart on the streets this holiday in order to keep everyone safe:
- Follow basic traffic rules- look left, right, and left again.
- Watch for cars that are backing up or turning around in neighborhoods.
- Use sidewalks or walk in the grass.
- Cross the street at corners, marked crosswalks, and always use available traffic signals.
- Always supervise young children on the roads.
- Watch out for kids crossing in the middle of a road.
- Keep distractions in the car to a minimum (no phones or electronics, low volume for music and conversations).
- Slow down in the neighborhoods.
- Stay alert during trick-or-treating times.
Costumes are one of the best parts of Halloween, but for some unlucky trick-or-treaters, they could prove to be the worst. It’s important to keep safety in mind this holiday when designing or buying your costume to avoid the most common costume hazards causing injuries that can ruin an exciting night:
- Flame-Resistant Costumes: Candles and other fiery decorations are popular on Halloween. But if your child’s costume is not flame-resistant, they could easily catch fire and suffer from serious burns and injuries.
- Capes and Long Garments: Strangulation and tripping injuries are very common with costumes that have capes, long jewelry, cords, and sashes. Costumes that are too big or drag on the ground can also be hazardous.
- Face Paints: Some children are extremely allergic to face paints, resulting in skin irritations and rashes. Non-toxic makeup products are not necessarily safe for your kids but they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Sharp Props: Knives, swords, and spikey accessories can hurt others around your kids or your kids themselves if they fall on their props. Leave the dangerous props at home to avoid harm to others.
- Masks: Masks can block your child’s vision of cars on busy roads or other hazards in yards such as leaves, stairs, and decorations that could cause them to trip and fall.
- Dark Colors: When children are dressed in dark colors, they can be hard to see on the side of the road for drivers. Add brightly colored and reflective elements to your child’s costume to keep them visible.
Not So Sweet Treats
Kids look forward to collecting pounds of candy on Halloween, thinking little about the risks associated with their treats. However, there are several dangers parents should be keeping in mind before their kids consume any candy this year, including allergic reactions, food poisoning, teeth injuries, choking, and treat tampering.
To help keep kids safe and healthy this Halloween, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises parents to follow these simple tips for trick-or-treating:
- No Snacking: Keep your kids from snacking on candy while they are out trick-or-treating this year. This will help parents monitor what they are eating and keep them away from dangerous treats.
- Only Eat Safely Wrapped Treats: Teach your kids not to eat any candy that is not properly wrapped in a commercial wrapper. Homemade treats might be fine, but any improper handling could lead to foodborne illnesses.
- Check Labels: If your child has food allergies, check all labels before giving candy to them. Sometimes you can tell by the name of a treat that it has harmful ingredients for your child, while other times reading the back is the only way you can tell.
- Watch for Small Items: Tiny toys, hard candies, and certain candies can easily cause small children to choke. Parents should remove all items not appropriate for their children before allowing them to search through their bags.
Halloween can be more harmful to your pets than fun and owners should be prepared. Keep treats that can be poisonous to your pets, particularly chocolate, out of reach. Be cautious about the decorations you put in your home to reduce the chance of your pets being scared or injured. Don’t allow your pets to chew on costumes as not all these materials are safe for them to consume. Lastly, never leave your pets outside overnight on Halloween. Not everyone is nice to pets and some pranksters enjoy hurting, teasing, or even killing animals left outside.
Happy Halloween CT
Don’t let Halloween hazards ruin your night of fun. Prepare for safety, stay alert, and enjoy a spooky night out on the town. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween from Jacobs & Wallace.