Important tips to keep your kids safe this Halloween
Now that you have their fluttering fairy and ghastly gargoyle costumes sorted, it’s time to brush up on the latest tips to ensure your little trick-or-treaters stay safe this Halloween.
Witches and ghosts and goblins, oh my! Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays of the year for children of all ages. You get to wear awesome costumes and request candy from strangers… what’s not to love?! But there are a few precautions that need to be taken to keep our children safe on the spookiest night of the year. And you might be surprised to hear that candy is far from the biggest hazard!
Here are some of the top Halloween safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and non-profit organization Safe Kids Worldwide.
- Choose reflective costumes: If they’re not already bright or reflective, add reflective tape to them.
- Avoid obstructing eyesight: Some masks can limit your child’s eyesight, so opt for non-toxic makeup when possible. We love Natural Earth Paint’s eco-friendly and non-toxic Natural Face Paint Kit.
- Make sure costumes fit properly :Avoid costumes that are too big or too long because they could cause your child to trip or get entangled. Hats should also fit properly so that they don’t slide down over eyes.
- Opt for flame-resistant costumes and accessories: Check the labels to make sure all costumes, wigs and accessories are flame-resistant, or choose flame-resistant fabric if you’re making the costume yourself.
- Don’t wear decorative contact lenses without a prescription: Even if the labels say they’re safe, they could cause serious eye infections and disorders.
- Pick safe accessories: Any swords, sticks or canes that go with your child’s costume should be short and blunt. Pointy objects could cause injury if they trip and fall
Carving a jack-o’-lantern
- Carve it yourself: Children can draw a face on the pumpkin with a marker, but only adults should use a knife to carve it.
- Avoid open flames: It’s safer to use a flashlight or glow stick than a candle to light your jack-o’-lantern. If you use a candle, a votive (in a glass jar) is safest.
- Put it in a safe place: Place your jack-o-lantern away from fire hazards such as curtains and trick-or-treaters’ costumes. A sturdy table near a window inside the house is your best bet.
Preparing your home
- Remove hazards: Ensure your yard, path and porch are free from toys, decorations, garden tools, wet leaves, snow and other hazards that could cause children to trip or hurt themselves.
- Turn on outdoor lights: While a dark porch might seem spooky, it isn’t safe for little trick-or-treaters.
- Restrain pets: Place them somewhere safe so that they can’t run away or injure trick-or-treaters.
- Accompany young children: Children under 12 should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Plan a route for older children: Older children should stick to well-known and well-lit areas and trick-or-treat in a group. Your best bet is to map out and review a route with them and specify what time you expect them to come home.
- Carry flashlights: Each child and escort should have their own flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Carry fully charged cellphones: Each group should have at least one fully charged cellphone, but it should only be used for emergencies. Trick-or-treaters and escorts should keep their eyes off their phones and on the road.
- Remind children of some safety precautions: Instruct children to stay with their group, remain on well-lit streets, use the sidewalks (or walk facing traffic at the far edge of the road if there’s no sidewalk), cross streets as a group at streetlights or crosswalks only (never between parked cars or out driveways), look both ways before crossing, watch for cars at all times, and never dart out into the street. They should only go to homes that have a porch light on and they should never enter a house or a car.
- Drive safely :If you’re driving, go extra slowly and watch carefully for children who may forget to look before crossing the street.
Healthy and safe eating
- Give out non-food items: You may choose to give out treats such as stickers, crayons or pencil toppers instead of candy.
- Have dinner before trick-or-treating: This will prevent children from filling up on too much candy.
- Check your children’s treats: They’ll inevitably want to eat a few while they’re trick-or-treating, so instruct them to hand their chosen treats over to you for inspection first. When you get home, inspect all the remaining candy and throw out any unwrapped or suspicious items. Tampering is rare according to the AAP, but it’s best to be on the safe side.
- Ration their candy: Allow your children to have a few Halloween treats per day in the week after Halloween. Try to discreetly dispose of any leftovers when the novelty has worn off.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!