Velvet-plumed pirate hat? Check.
Vampire fangs? Check.
Fake blood and face paint? Check.
There’s nothing like a frightful costume to put your children in the Halloween mood. But before you finish reviewing your check list and send your little horror buffs in search of candy, make sure they’re equipped with more than just their swords and magic wands.
Full of energy and excited to be dressed in costumes, kids are often distracted by the other ghosts and vampires prowling around and tend to overlook the real dangers lurking in the night. Speeding cars, toxic candy and unsafe neighborhoods are just some of the safety concerns that can put a real scare into children and their parents. In fact, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization committed to prevent accidental childhood injury.
The American Red Cross offers the following tips to help make this holiday safer, happier, and a little less scary:
For Mummies and Friendly Ghosts
- Accompany children under 12 or have another adult go along.
- Plan a safe route with good lighting. Give your children a flashlight with fresh batteries or a glow stick to increase visibility.
- Pin a slip of paper with your child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case he or she gets separated from the group.
- Make sure costumes are flame-resistant and fit correctly. Use retroreflective tape to increase visibility.
- Treat your kids to a spooky Halloween meal before they leave. It will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before you have a chance to check it.
- Inspect treats before eating. Throw out unwrapped or unpackaged candy.
For Dragon Slayers and Superheroes
- Look both ways before crossing the street and check for approaching vehicles.
- Cross the street only at corners and don’t hide between parked cars.
- Stay in familiar neighborhoods and only visit houses with lighted porches.
- If you visit a stranger’s house, accept treats only at the door. Don’t go inside.
- Use face paint or make-up instead of masks. Masks can obstruct your vision.
For Knight Riders
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods.
- Watch for children walking along roadways and curbs – one quick move and they could be in your path.
- Enter and exit driveways carefully.
- Use your vehicle’s headlights, even during the day, so you are visible.
- When driving children to and from holiday events, have them enter and exit at the curbside of the vehicle only.
For Haunted House owners
- When passing out candy, consider the age of the child. Small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
- Make sure your walkway is safe for children to enter.
- Clean up all lawn accessories to avoid falls.
- Consider using glow sticks instead of candles in your jack-o’-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard.
- Keep the porch light on to increase visibility.
- Bring pets inside.
Halloween is a night of spooky ghosts and eerie encounters, but following these tips can help ensure it’s a fun night as well. So, leave the scares behind in the land of goblins and take these precautions to ensure your family stays safe.
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