Halloween is quickly approaching and witches, monsters, and ghosts will be taking to the streets in search for their trick or treats. It is important to educate children about Halloween safety to ensure a safe, yet frightfully fun time.
Advocate South Suburban Hospital emergency medicine specialist, Ronald Lawton, M.D., suggests that Halloween safety begins as early as picking out your costume. The National Safety Council reports that falls are the leading cause of injury on Halloween. To avoid falls Dr. Lawton suggests that children should wear well fitted masks, costumes and shoes. “The child’s vision should not be obstructed by the costume,” said Dr. Lawton. Instead of a mask, consider hypoallergenic makeup to decorate the face. Be sure to test makeup on a small area of skin and remove makeup completely at the end of the night to avoid skin irritation.
Once trick-or-treating begins, Dr. Lawton believes safety is not just the responsibility of the trick-or-treaters.
“Community residents should clear a path to their houses, with no decorations in the way or wet leaves on the ground that may cause a child to fall,” said Dr. Lawton. “Check exterior lighting ahead of time to provide a well lit path. Keep your pets secured for the safety of visitors and the pet.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are four times more likely to be in fatal pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on any other night of the year. This statistic is scary, but there are precautions that can be taken to avoid accidents.
Use a flashlight and/or fasten reflective tape to the costume and treat bags to help drivers see you. Only walk on sidewalks. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult and be sure to look both ways before crossing a street.
“Drivers also need to take caution,” urges Dr. Lawton. “Drive slowly and cautiously on Halloween. Be especially careful when entering and exiting driveways.”
Now, how about those treats? Children should be instructed to not consume any treats until returning home.
“Parents should not only check treats for signs of tampering, but also be cautious and remove anything the child may be allergic to,” said Dr. Lawton.
He also advises that children eat only factory wrapped treats and avoid eating any homemade treats unless you know the cook. When in doubt, throw it out.
Dr. Lawton also finds this to be an essential time to remind children about healthy eating habits.
“Give children an early meal before going out to prevent them from wanting to fill up on treats. Put candy away and control when the child eats it,” said Dr. Lawton. For those residents offering treats, provide healthier treats, such as individual packs of raisins, trail mix, or pretzels.
Following these tips should provide for a safe and healthy Halloween. “Educated children combined with cautious community residents are the key ingredients to making this a Happy Halloween,” said Dr. Lawton.