October is here, which means it is time for trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, haunted houses and all the other fun, spooky traditions Halloween entails. Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to your child’s safety. Halloween is an exciting time of year for children, and we want to ensure that they have fun and are kept safe. Here are some simple, yet effective tips to keep your kids safe this trick-or-treating season.
It is up to parents to plan their children’s costumes to be both comfortable and safe. Costumes should be both reflective and bright as possible. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags so that your child will be clearly visible when walking across the road at night. A child’s costume should be short enough in length to prevent them from tripping or getting entangled. Parents should make sure that the child’s shoes fit comfortably and correctly, and that their laces remain tied throughout the night. Since masks often slip and fall into the child’s eyes, try swapping out the batman mask for non-toxic face paint instead. When picking out wigs and accessories, purchase items that are labeled flame resistant. All costume props should be safety approved. For example, if your child’s pirate costume comes with a sword, ensure that the sword is not too long or sharp.
On average, children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. A parent or responsible caregiver should always remain with the child during their neighborhood trick-or-treating rounds. All children and escorts should be equipped with a working flashlight. Glow sticks also work great for the kids to carry along with them, so drivers will see them. Parents should only take children to homes with a porch light on and should never enter a home or a vehicle to get a treat. When making your rounds, always remain on well-lit streets and travel on the sidewalk. If a street does not contain a sidewalk, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. Never assume that you have the right of way. It is dark and drivers may not be able to see very well, so always stop and look both ways before crossing the crosswalk. Never let children cut across yards or alleys to reach houses and always encourage your children to stay on the proper path. All escorts should carry a cell phone and report any suspicious or unlawful activity to the police immediately.
If you are planning to have trick-or-treaters visiting your home, rid your porch of anything a child could potentially trip on, such as Halloween lawn ornaments placed inappropriately or garden hoses. Check your outdoor lighting system to ensure that your house is properly lit. There are many ways to properly light a home while also appealing to the “spookiness” that is Halloween! Sidewalks and steps should be clear of any tripping hazards, too. Also, all pets should be restrained while trick-or-treaters are in the neighborhood so they do not jump, scare or harm a child.
Before trick-or-treating, go over these safety tips with your child to make sure they understand that having fun is easier when everyone puts safety first. A great Halloween isn’t just about all of the candy; it’s also about remembering common safety guidelines so no one ends up hurt from a fall or other injury. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to have a happy and safe Halloween this year. For more information on Association of Childcare Physicians, LTD., call 618-235-2311 or visit http://childcarephysicians.com.