Originally Released: October, 1999
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KEEPING THE TREAT IN YOUR CHILD'S HALLOWEEN
Halloween is coming. While kids are thinking about their costumes and the piles of candy, parents need to think about the possible dangers their children could face during the frantic trick-or-treat festivities.
"Halloween can be scary in more ways than the traditional sense. For kids, Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year because of the many injuries that occur," says Karen Hardingham, R.N., program coordinator for Baltimore SAFE KIDS Coalition and nurse at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. "Most parents worry about candy tampering. They're not always aware that pedestrian injuries, burns, and falls account for the majority of the injuries on Halloween," adds Hardingham.
According to Hardingham, many of the risks children face can be avoided if parents follow a few simple safety tips and take time to talk to their children about safety before trick-or-treating. To help make Halloween safe for every child, the Baltimore SAFE KIDS Coalition at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children recommend that parents take the following precautions:
TRICK-OR-TREAT SAFETY TIPS
- Accompany children under age 12 on their trick-or-treat rounds.
- Make sure your neighborhood is a safe place for trick-or-treating. If not, consider holding a Halloween party or attending an established party at a local mall or other site.
- Teach children to travel only in familiar areas and along a route you have established for them.
- Teach children to never enter a home or apartment building unless they are with a parent.
- Teach children to only trick-or-treat at homes with outside lights turned on.
- Attach a tag with your child's name, address and phone number under costumes.
- Set a time for children to return home.
- Make sure your child knows his or her phone number and has change to make a call.
- Teach your children to bring all treats home for you to inspect before eating them.
Cumbersome costumes and masks can make walking safely through dark neighborhood streets difficult for children. The following tips can help prevent fall-related injuries:
- Avoid using masks. Use non-toxic face paint.
- Have children carry flashlights.
- Keep costume lengths short to avoid tripping.
- Secure hats so they do not slip over the child's eyes.
- Dress children in shoes that fit.
- Allow children to carry only flexible props.
- Teach children use sidewalks and not to cut across yards.
- Remove obstacles such tools, toys, and ladders from your front yard, steps, or porch.
PREVENTING PEDESTRIAN INJURIES
Darting out into the streets is one of the most common causes of pedestrian death among children. The Baltimore SAFE KIDS Coalition offers the following important tips for parents and for drivers out on the road Halloween night:
- Decorate costumes and candy bags with retro-reflective tape and stickers.
- Use light-colored costumes to make children more visible at night.
- Teach children to walk and not to run, while trick-or-treating.
- Remind children to always stop, look left, right, and left again before crossing any street.
- Teach children to cross at corners and crosswalks.
- Teach children to never dart out into a street from between parked cars.
- Never let a child under age 10 cross a street alone.
- Drivers must SLOW DOWN!
- Obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Watch for children and pedestrians crossing the streets.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleyways slowly and carefully.
Fires and burns are the third leading cause of injury related death among children. On Halloween, the Baltimore SAFE KIDS Coalition and University of Maryland Hospital for Children recommend the following safety precautions:
- Use flame resistant costumes, wigs, beards, and other accessories.
- Avoid costumes made with flimsy material, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
- Keep candles, lit jack-o-lanterns, matches and lighters out of children's reach.
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This page was last updated on:
March 20, 2009.