Halloween is just around the corner. We offer these safety tips, provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Safe Kids USA to help keep kids safe on Halloween.
Flame Resistant Costumes: When purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, look for the label “Flame Resistant”. Although this label does not mean these items won’t catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. Instead of candles in pumpkins, use flameless ones that are operated with a batter. Glow sticks also work well and come in a variety of colors to give you pumpkins a “coo effect”.
Costume Designs: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores. (You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide free retro-reflective trick-or-treat bags)
- To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
- Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother’ s high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.
- Hats and scarfs should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes.
- Apply a face paint rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, however, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
Pedestrian Safety: Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child. All children should WALK, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street. Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers. Remember to cross the street at corners where motorists are more likely to be watching for kids.
Choosing Safe Houses: Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome.
- Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.
- People expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches. Candlelit jack-o’-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame. Indoor jack-o’-lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations, and other furnishings that could be ignited.
Motorists: Remember that Halloween brings kids out on the streets and they are often eager to get from house to house and not watching for cars. Motorists should slow down and be extra vigilant for kids on the streets. Come to a full stop, behind crosswalks and make eye contact with the kids so they know they are seen and it is safe to cross. Adhere to parking rules and keep crosswalks and street corners safe places for kids to walk and cross. If there is inclement weather, such as rain, ice or snow, use extra caution to avoid slipping and sliding. Avoid distractions while driving such as texting, talking on your cell phone or other things that take your mind off the road.
Other Options: Consider hosting a Halloween party or going to an indoor venue for trick-or-treating rather than being out on the streets. This is also a great option to avoid the cold weather and show off your costumes in full fashion!!
Halloween can be a fun time for kids but we hope that those out trick-or-treating and all on the streets and roadways will help to keep it safe as well. Kids are two times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian incident than any other day of the year. Let’s make this Halloween a FUN and SAFE one.
Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks. For more Halloween safety tips, visit www.safekidsgf.com or “Like” us on Facebook at Safe Kids Grand Forks.