Halloween is a fun time for kids, but it is also an important time to be extra vigilant for possible safety hazards so that your children have a fun and safe Halloween. Some tips to make Halloween safe include:
- Decorations are the first thing to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year. Two of five of these fires were started by a candle. Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards.
- Do not use open flame candles in jack-o-lanterns. Commercially available battery lights are much safer and do not pose a fire hazard.
- Tell your children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
- An adult should always accompany children under 12 years of age.
- Parents should never let their children carve a pumpkin unsupervised.
- Do not hand out homemade or unwrapped candies to children.
- Urge your children to wait until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the contents before eating any treats. Don't send them out on an empty stomach.
- Parents should plan a route for your child to use while trick-or-treating and set an early return time for your child.
- To welcome trick-or-treaters, switch on your porch lights or any exterior lights.
Trick or Treat Tips
- Do not go inside anyone's house. Remain on the stoop or porch at all times.
- Do not go into a stanger's automobile.
- Do not take shortcuts through backyards, alleys, or parks.
- Walk don't run.
- When crossing the street look both ways. Do not cross in between cars.
- Always use the sidewalk.
- Trick-or-treat on well-lit streets within your neighborhood.
- Children should always travel in a group.
- Use the buddy system, and make sure you have at least one buddy with you the entire evening.
- When you return home, have an adult examine and discard all candies that are not factory sealed or wrapped by the candy manufacturer. Never eat homemade or unwrapped treats.
- Children should carry and know how to use a cell phone in case of an emergency.
- Only purchase and use flame retardant costumes.
- Children should wear white, reflective clothing, or use reflective tape and carry either a flashlight or glow stick.
- Costumes should fit properly avoid loose or baggy costumes.
- Avoid any type of open flame while wearing costume.
- Encourage children to wear face paint as oppose to a mask. Face paint should be non-toxic and meet FDA standards.
- If mask is worn, make sure that the eye, mouth and nose openings are large enough to ensure adequate breathing and full range vision.
- Children should never carry sharp objects. Ensure that all props are made of material that is flexible and non realistic looking.
- Materials made of 100% polyester or mod acrylics are best for making homemade costumes. They are less flammable.
- REMEMBER – A flame-retardant costume does not mean that it is fire proof. Always keep your costume away from any type of open flame or other heat sources.
Tips for Motorists
- Be aware of children darting out between parked automobiles.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Use caution while entering and exiting driveways.
- During twilight and evening hours be mindful of children in dark costumes.
- Never use your cell phone while driving.
- Discourage teens from driving on Halloween. There are too many hazards and distractions for inexperienced drivers.
Sources: National Fire Protection Agency (www.nfpa.org) and Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org)