Halloween is finally here, and we at the OCDE Newsroom have some treats to hand out.
OK, so they’re not treats exactly — they’re more like safety tips, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. But hear us out on this. We think these are pretty useful reminders, and they may increase your chances of having a safe and bountiful trick-or-treating session.
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
Take a flashlight with fresh batteries to navigate any dark areas with trip hazards.
Pick costumes that are bright and reflective, and make sure shoes fit well and outfits are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with open flames. The American Academy of Pediatrics also notes that non-toxic makeup and decorative hats are considered safer alternatives to masks, which can limit or block eyesight.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route that’s appropriate — and agree on a specific time when they should return.
Only go to homes with a lit porch light, and make sure children never enter a home or car for a treat.
Make sure children know to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or get lost.
Finally, because pedestrian accidents are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters of the following:
- Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
- Consider reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
- If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. (Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.)
- Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters.
- Also, just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will.
- Police should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
ON THE HOMEFRONT
To light your jack-o-lantern, consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove any tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes or lawn decorations.
It’s also a good idea to restrain pets so they don’t jump on or bite a trick-or-treater — or head out on their own Halloween adventures.
Make sure to check your child’s candy when he or she gets home to make sure everything is sealed and safe to eat. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items — or homemade goodies that haven’t been made by someone you know.
For more Halloween safety tips, visit www.aap.org.