If your kids are like mine, they’ve been counting down the days until Halloween since October 1. It’s an exciting holiday – playing dress-up, visiting other houses, and consuming all of those sugary treats!
While Halloween is certainly a fun holiday, it’s important to be diligent about safety – especially when traveling by foot at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), October 31 is the most dangerous night of the year for youngsters walking on American roadways. In fact, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to kidssafe.org.
The statistic makes sense. It’s Halloween. Kids are excited. They’re dressed up. They’re not paying attention. And on top of it all, it’s dark. With an estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters heading out this year, here are some practical tips to help keep all of those little ghosts and goblins safe while traveling door-to-door:
- Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks when available, and never cross the street between parked cars.
- Make sure your child’s costume doesn’t drag on the ground.
- Have your child wear properly-fitting shoes, even if they don’t match the costume.
- Dress your child in reflective clothing or apply reflective tape.
- Write your child’s name, address, and phone number in her costume in case she gets lost.
- Considering using face paint instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct your child’s vision.
- Teach your child to only approach well-lit houses and remain on the porch, rather than entering the house.
- Instruct your child to stay away from animals you don’t know, and refrain from petting them.
- Tell your child to bring the candy home to be inspected before he eats anything.
- Instruct your child to trick-or-treat in groups and in familiar settings.
And if you’re handing out treats at your house this year, here are some health and safety tips to keep in mind:
- Consider offering healthier alternatives, such as single-serve packages of low-fat crackers with cheese, boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, raisins, low-fat popcorn.
- Or, offer non-food treats such as plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, and coins.
- Keep your house well-lit and the front yard clear of any tripping hazards such as garden hoses.
- Use a battery-operated candle instead of a flame in your jack-o-lanterns, to prevent potential fire hazards.
The scariest part of Halloween should be the spooky decorations and costumes. Help keep it that way by making safety a priority. As always, our Drug and Poison Information Center is available 24-hours-a-day at 1-800-222-1222, in case you have any questions on Hallows’ Eve.
We wish you and your family a Happy Halloween. And stay safe!