Halloween safety tips for parents

Halloween is a fun time for kids and even adults, but children face special risks on that day that parents that parents should keep in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a list of recommendations for a safer holiday for the little ones. The highlights are summarized here.

Trick-or-treaters by the fireplace
Trick-or-treaters take a quick break to pose for some pictures. Photo by Cyndi Cheek.
  1. Bright and reflective costume colors are the best. Costumes should also give kids freedom of movement, particularly around their legs and be short enough to prevent snagging and tripping.
  2. Halloween often involves candles and other sources of open flame, be sure to use flame retardant material and follow the advice above on keeping costumes short to avoid accidental contact with fire.
  3. Masks often block eyesight, so favor makeup instead. Be sure to test the makeup on a small patch of skin in advance to make sure there are no allergies.
  4. Don’t use long, sharp or pointed props with your kids costumes. Children like to swing things around and the longer something is, the more it can reach and the sharper it is, the more damage it can do. A long and dangerous prop (even glass) could easily hurt the child or others in the event of an accidental fall.
  5. Be sure children have some form of identification and know how to dial 9-1-1 in case of separation or getting lost.
Wonder Woman and Steve
Wonder Woman and Steve from Minecraft demonstrate the use of short costumes and bright reflective colors. The mask on Steve might not be the best idea due to the limitation on vision. The sword, although it is long, is foam and will not cause injury in the event of a fall.  Photo by Doug Deal.
  1. Consider dispensing candy in a place away from trip hazards. Children will be wearing masks and have draping clothing and forcing them to go up stairs could result in falls. Also, tight squeezes between bushes can catch on loose clothing and also trip a child. Also, make sure their is a clear path through decorations and light the way with glow sticks or spotlights so children can see where they are going.
  2. Keep wet leaves and other debris off sidewalks and pathways.
  3. A parent or other trusted adult should accompany all young children at all times.
  4. Get some small flashlights for everyone in your party, including escorts. These will come in handy in case anyone is lost or a pathway is too dark to walk through carefully. Also, the light can be used to alert passing cars to your presence, especially by pointing the light toward the ground and away from the drivers eyes.
  5. For older children going alone or in a group of friends, set a schedule and agree to an acceptable route.
  6. Only knock on doors with a porch light on that are clearly welcoming trick-or-treaters.
  7. A little bit of reflective tape can go a long way on costumes and treat bags.
  8. Carry cell phones for emergencies.
  9. Use the sidewalk whenever possible, but in the many neighborhoods without sidewalks walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic and stick to well lit areas or use a flashlight.\
  10. Do not cut across yards and down alleyways. There can be unseen hazards in the dark and especially isolated places like alleyways.
  11. Don’t assume drivers see you, give them a wide berth and avoid cars as much as possible.
  12. Tampering is rare and the fear is overblown, but still examine all treats before the children start eating them.

Author: Doug Deal

Founder Doug Deal is a former chemical engineer from Georgia Tech who switched careers into software development at the turning of the millennium. He has lived in Macon for nearly 12 years and started Macon Community News in 2013 with his wife Lauren. His goal in starting the newspaper was to publicize positive news because he grew tired of so much negativity driving most local coverage. He has 2 children, Sam and Isobel.