It’s almost Halloween! Kids are getting excited and for good reason. This is a holiday where memories are made that last a lifetime – not to mention a chance to unleash the sweet tooth of children all throughout New York.
As a parent, you want your kids to have a fun and safe day. Unfortunately, among the playful ghosts and goblins of the day, some real dangers lurk. In fact, Halloween marks the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrian accidents throughout the United States. Knowing the potential hazards, and steps to prevent them can help you ensure your kids have a spooktacular Halloween.
“Frightening” Facts About Kid’s Safety On Halloween
- Halloween is the worst day of the year for fatal accidents involving cars and kids on foot. In fact, there are more than twice as many fatal child pedestrian accidents on Halloween as there are on an average day.
- The evening hours are the most dangerous for these fatal car accidents, with 60 percent occurring between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.
- Crossing in the middle of a block is especially dangerous, with 70 percent of the fatal accidents occurring when kids cross outside of an intersection or crosswalk.
- Children have been poisoned by breaking open glow sticks and drinking the liquid inside them.
- Face paint can contain lead and other toxic substances.
- Candles and flammable decorations increase the risk of fires.
Scare Away An Accident With These Halloween Safety Tips For Parents
The good news is that there is a lot you can do as a parent to prevent or avoid these dangers. Consider these important Halloween safety tips for parents:
Say “Boo” to Dangerous Costumes
- Make sure costumes, wigs, and other accessories area all flame-retardant
- Use reflective tape on costumes and bags. Choose costume colors that are light or bright to make kids more easily visible to drivers in the dark.
- Before Halloween, test any makeup or face paint your child wants to wear in a small inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t irritate their skin.
- Avoid face paint made in China, which might contain toxic substances. Make sure that all face paint and makeup is completely washed off before your kids go to bed.
- Swords and other accessories should be soft and flexible.
- Make sure costumes are not so long that kids could trip over them. Also, be sure that shoes fit well and are not tripping hazards.
- Make sure that masks, helmets, wigs, and other costume pieces worn on the face or head don’t interfere with a kid’s vision.
- Put name tags with your phone number on the inside of costumes in case your kids get lost.
Trick or Treating Safety Tips
- Talk to your kids about safety before they leave the house.
- Be extra cautious while crossing the street. Always cross at an intersection or in a crosswalk. If there is a traffic light, always wait for the green. Look both ways before crossing.
- Children under 12 should always be accompanied by a responsible adult.
- Carry a cell phone and make sure it’s charged.
- In many neighborhoods in Manhattan and throughout New York City, stores and other businesses give out candy on Halloween. Large groups of kids flock to these blocks, and the atmosphere is festive. Consider trick or treating entirely on these commercial blocks and skipping homes and apartment buildings altogether.
- A recent trend in New York City is trick or treating during the day. The afternoon is the most common daytime choice, but some trick or treaters start as early as 9:00 in the morning. By choosing daytime excursions, parents can get their little ones safely back home before the sun goes down.
- There is safety in numbers. Consider going to a block or neighborhood that is a magnet for trick or treaters, especially those that have parades, block parties, or other special kid-friendly events.
- If trick or treating in apartment buildings, kids should ring the doorbell and wait in the hall for their candy. They should never enter the apartment of someone they don’t know, just as they should never enter the house of a stranger.
- If trick or treating after dark, children should carry flashlights.
- When you get home, examine the candy your kids collected before they start to eat it. While the stories about razor blades in apples are a more urban legend than reality, choking is a real hazard for younger kids, so don’t give kids under four hard candy, popcorn, or gum. Don’t let them have toys with small parts that they could choke on. Also, discard any food or candy that is unwrapped. If you have kids with allergies, check for items they shouldn’t be eating.
Hosting An Monstermash? Party Hearty — But Safely, Too
- If you are having a Halloween party at home, be careful with candles, especially if you are using paper or other flammable decorations. Don’t leave lit candles in unattended areas, in places where they could be knocked over, or in drafty areas. Consider not using lit candles at all, even inside jack-o-lanterns.
- Don’t provide alcohol to minors.
- Keep the floor and entryway clear of tripping hazards. If you live in a house, keep the paths and sidewalk clear of obstacles and well lit.
- If you’re carving pumpkins, don’t let little kids use knives. They can participate in the fun by drawing the shapes to be cut out on the pumpkin. Also, be sure to clean up thoroughly after carving pumpkins because the residue is slippery.
Halloween Driving Safety Tips
- Be extra aware of kids crossing the street. Stay alert, especially at dusk and after dark, when most trick or treaters are out and when visibility is most limited. Kids may suddenly dart out from between cars in the middle of the block, so be prepared.
- Go slow. Drive at least 5 mph below the speed limit.
- Be especially careful when leaving or entering a driveway.
- Don’t drink and drive.
By staying aware of the potential dangers and using a bit of extra care, you can help ensure your kids will be happy and safe. We wish you all a “boo-tiful” Halloween full of fun, laughter, and lots of great treats.
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