By GalTime Consumer Watchdog Mary Schwager
If you've got kids, Halloween is probably the talk of your house right now. But beyond the excitement about costumes and candy, there are a lot of important safety precautions to keep in mind. Keep reading, because you certainly don't want the evening to become a real life fright night!
The Centers for Disease Control says children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween. That's especially scary this year, because October 31st falls on a Wednesday, when many people will be heading home from work.
Securitas Security Services President, Richard Avery warns, "The fun of trick-or-treating and the excitement of Halloween may be a distraction for children. Careless street crossing coupled with drivers' more limited vision at night can make for a deadly mix. Many of the risks children face on Halloween can be avoided if parents discuss important safety precautions with their children."
The best ways to keep your kids safe, Avery says, is by knowing where they'll be, what they'll be wearing and to follow the tips below. That way the worst thing you'll have to deal with at the end of the night is a bunch of kids with a sugar high! Avery is sharing his tips for making Halloween safe for your little ghouls and goblins.
Related: 10 Ways to Save Money this Halloween
Halloween Safety Tips for Kids
• Make sure costumes, including masks, beards, and wigs, are flame retardant and aren't baggy or billowing in case they come in contact with a candle or jack-o lantern.
• Review the principle of "Stop - Drop - Roll" in case their clothes catch on fire.
• Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
• Use make-up instead of a mask, which can be hot, uncomfortable, and, more importantly, obstruct a child's vision when they cross the street.
• If a mask is worn, be sure it fits securely. Cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
• Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes and trick or treat bags. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.
• Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
• Dress children in shoes that fit. Adult-sized 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 costume knives, swords, or other safe props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
• Trick-or-treaters should always be in groups so they aren't tempting targets for would be perpetrators.
• Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends. Map out a safe route together so you know where they'll be. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on. Never go inside stranger's homes or cars.
• Trick-or-treat while it's light out. If they do go out in the dark, make sure someone has a flashlight with fresh batteries and pick well-lighted streets.
• Parents, older siblings, or adult chaperones should always accompany small children while they are trick-or-treating.
• Teach children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating. They should never dart out into the street.
• Remind children to stop and look right and left at all street corners before crossing.
• Tell kids to stay on the sidewalk and not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are hidden hazards in the dark.
• Attach the name, address, and phone number of children under age 12 to their clothes or bag in case they get separated from adults.
• Make sure older children have change for a phone call or a cell phone in case they have a problem.
• Set a time for children to return home.
• Children need to know not to eat their treats until they get home. To avoid this, feed them a meal or a snack before setting out to trick-or-treat.
• Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Inspect fruit and homemade treats for anything suspicious. Allow your children to keep only unopened candies and other treats in their original wrappers.
• Small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
• Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. If they vandalize a home, such as by throwing eggs at it, make them clean up the mess they've made and apologize to the homeowner affected by the vandalism.
• Halloween can be a scary time for animals. Make sure kids know that animal cruelty is not acceptable, regardless of any peer pressure. It's not only morally wrong, but punishable by law.
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