Child Safety Series: Avoiding Halloween Hazards



Each month this series will provide important facts and tips surrounding child safety in an effort to support parents and caregivers as they navigate risks and attempt to create the safest environment possible for the children in their lives. 

Halloween comes with magic and excitement for children, but unfortunately it can also come with many safety and health hazards. When parents think ahead and create a plan to avoid negative encounters and know what to do to prepare for the safest holiday for their families, everyone can have a good time! 

Creating a Safe & Healthy Halloween

Traffic Safety

One of the largest safety concerns on October 31st comes from Trick-or-Treating, although it’s not from candy concerns, but traffic incidents. Creating a plan to follow pedestrian traffic laws is extremely important on Halloween, especially in the evening. Remind friends and family to use a sidewalk whenever possible and always to walk along the street facing traffic. Avoid crossing the street where there isn’t a stop sign or crosswalk and try to complete one side of the road before heading to the other side. Not all neighborhoods are used to Trick-or-Treaters or paying close attention to pedestrians, so consider adding an additional safety step by placing reflective tape on the back of your child’s costume, or surprising the kids with glow necklaces or bracelets to help them appear more visible to drivers. 

Costume Safety

Another important safety checkpoint for your children should be checking that their costume choices are free of hazards. The first thing to check here is the fit of the costume to ensure nothing is too long, which might cause tripping or falling accidents; that there are no potential choking hazards for younger kids present; and masks are not blocking airways or impairing vision, which can also lead to accidents. Before bedtime, be sure to completely clean off any costume make-up, glitters, hairsprays or other body adornments that could cause skin irritations or rashes in children, if worn for extended periods of time. Also, make sure any products you choose are labeled non-toxic, if being placed directly on your child’s skin. 

Coronavirus Safety

Remember that there is still a global pandemic going on and unfortunately, kids are not immune to COVID-19. Whether you choose to celebrate the holiday with a close circle of loved ones or attend large public functions, be sure to keep hand washing and social distancing a priority whenever possible. Have open communication with the people you plan to share your Halloween with by asking if anyone is sick or symptomatic to please hold off this holiday in joining the fun, in respect for everyone’s safety. 

Setting Expectations on Halloween 

Older Children

One of the best ways to ensure everyone’s safety is to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what to expect. If you have older children who will be celebrating with friends or trick-or-treating without a parent, consider setting a curfew and making sure at least one or two of them have cell phones to contact you in the event you need to get in touch. Discussing ahead of time where they will be and for which time frame is important, as well, in case of an emergency. As much as your children may feel independent and want to tell you that they “know the drill,” safety precautions can always bear repeating, so remind them about waiting to eat treats from strangers until they get home and never to go into someone’s house that they don’t know. 

Younger Children

For younger children who will be with adults, expectations are equally important in order to avoid any misunderstandings and possible safety issues. Depending on the age of your child, let them know what the plan is and who is involved. For instance, “We are going to Grandma’s neighborhood to trick-or-treat with your cousins, so remember we’ll be staying close to Mommy and Aunt Jessica tonight. We’re going to go back to Grandma’s house to sort through candy, so you can have a few pieces before bedtime.” Be specific about some of the plan to help them hear it from the get-go and hopefully let a few parts of it sink in! Remind them about walking slowly, how to cross the street safely and when to wait to indulge in treats if they need checking!

Parents   

Kids aren’t the only ones needing expectations and a plan for the Halloween festivities! Make sure all grown- ups involved in the celebration understand which kids will be with whom and for how long. Perhaps some of the adults present will have different roles, such as candy inspecting and being aware of any food allergies of the children, while others may be the official trunk-or-treat car hoppers, walking along with each child that evening, reminding everyone to put their electronic devices down and keep an eye on Trick-or-Treaters, especially when crossing the street or going to neighbors’ houses you don’t actually know.

Helpful Resources to Learn More

  • The CDC Website & Halloween Guide – www.cdc.gov

 {ONLINE EDITION HYPERLINK: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/daily-life-coping/Trick-or-treating.pdf}

 {ONLINE EDITION HYPERLINK: www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips}


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