Halloween Safety Tips

 

A child's imagination has no limits on Halloween night. But as little ghosts and goblins roam the neighborhood in search of "tricks and treats" this Halloween, simple safety steps are a necessity.

The majority of injuries that occur during Halloween are caused by falls, contact with motor vehicles, burns and collected treats. To help make sure your child's Halloween is safe, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Safe Kids Coalition recommends the following safety information and tips:

 

Falls
On Halloween night, children may find it difficult to walk safely through dark neighborhoods due to cumbersome costumes and blinding masks. The following tips can help prevent a child from sustaining a fall-related injury:
  • Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain the mask fits securely. Cut the holes largely enough for full vision.
  • Give trick-or-treaters flashlights.
  • Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
  • Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
  • Dress children in shoes that fit. Adult shoes are not safe for trick-or-treaters. The larger size makes it easier for them to trip and fall.
  • Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
  • Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are "hidden hazards" in the dark. Tell your children to stay on the sidewalk at all times.

 

Pedestrian Injuries
During the excitement of trick-or-treating, children often scurry to visit as many houses as possible -- often darting between parked and on coming cars. Darting out into the street accounts for the majority of pedestrian fatalities among children ages 14 and under. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Safe Kids Coalition offers the following important tips:
Visibility
  • Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retro-reflective tape.
  • Use Halloween costumes that are light or bright enough to make them more visible at night.

 

Traffic
  • Tell children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating.
  • Remind children to stop at all corners.
  • Tell them to cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Tell them to look left - right - left again before crossing.
  • Tell them never to dart out from between parked cars.
  • Never let children under age 10 go trick-or-treating without the supervision of an adult or older sibling.

 

Motorists
  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
  • Teach children to exit and enter the car on the curb side, away from traffic

 

Burns
Fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children. When choosing a child's costume, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Safe Kids Coalition recommends the following:
  • Look for "flame resistant" labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
  • Use fire resistant material when making costumes.
  • Avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. These are more likely to come in contact with an exposed flame, such as a candle, than tighter fitting costumes.

 

When preparing for Halloween night, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Safe Kids Coalition reminds parents and care givers to:
  • Accompany young children on their trick-or-treat rounds.
  • Attach the name, address and phone number (including area code) of children under age 12 to their clothes.
  • Teach your child his or her phone number. Make sure your child has change for a phone call in case they have a problem away from home.
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre established route.
  • Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Set a time for children to return home.
  • Restrict children's trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated.
  • Remove breakable items or obstacles such as tools, ladders and children's toys from your steps, lawn and porch. Keep jack-o-lanterns lit with candles away from landings or doorsteps where costumes might brush against the flame.
  • Tell children to bring their treats home before eating them. Parents should check treats to ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed. Be careful with fruit. Inspect the surface closely for punctures or holes and cut it open before allowing a child to eat it.

 

For more information contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg SAFE KIDS Coalition at (704) 336-8269 voice mail or page at (704) 581-2535.