Halloween is a beloved tradition. Youngsters enjoy spooky witches and vampires, dress-up as their favorite character and savor their favorite candy. In the excitement, children and parents can forget that real dangers are lurking. The following safety tips will help ensure that your family remembers this Halloween for its great times and not the scare of a lifetime. The majority of injuries that occur during Halloween season involve falls or vehicle/pedestrian accidents. Most of these accidents can be avoided with simple precautions.
Young pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween evening, making safe walking rules essential. Teach your kids to only cross at curbs and crosswalks, look both ways and walk in groups, which are more visible. Children should also use caution when walking in driveways.
To make children more visible to drivers, add reflective tape to children’s costumes. This tape can be purchased at bicycle stores. Trick-or-treaters can also carry glow sticks and flashlights to increase their visibility to drivers.
When it comes to costumes, be sure your children can easily move and see. Costumes should fit well to avoid trip- children can easily move and see. Costumes should fit well to avoid tripping or snagging.
Whenever possible, make-up should be used in place of masks, which can obstruct your child’s vision. If masks or hats are worn, ensure your child can see clearly in front of them, downwards and to the sides which will enable them to easily see curbs and oncoming vehicles.
Costume accessories should be soft and flexible. Hard swords and knives can cause injury if your child falls.
Before going trick-or-treating, pin a slip of paper with your child’s name, address, home phone and your cell phone number to the inside of their pocket. If they are separated from you or their group, this will help them to contact you. You should also carry recent photos of your child, which can be shown to those nearby or to law enforcement if your child becomes lost.
If you are enjoying festivities in a shopping mall and lose sight of your child, look for store windows displaying the blue and white striped “Code Adam.” These store employees are trained to assist with lost child situations.
Always supervise children near lit candles, luminaries or jack-o-lanterns. An open flame can ignite a costume. Remember costumes are flame resistant, not fire proof.
Sexual assault and kidnapping are crimes of opportunity. To protect your child, always supervise him/her and maintain a direct line of sight. Insist that your child trick-or-treat in a group of three or more. Children should be instructed to never enter a home for candy or any other reason.
Never trick or treat at dark or unlit homes. In fact, many jurisdictions require registered sex offenders to keep their lights off on Halloween evening. Know your neighborhood and avoid potentially dangerous homes. To see a map of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood, go online to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website, http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/Search.jsp.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risks of Halloween is to attend one of the many community Halloween events. These events are family-friendly, eliminate the threat of traffic, are generally well lit, supervised and have security available. For a list of events, go online to www.badagoo.com/events.
Jesse Porven is co-owner of Badagoo.com, a baby store that sells online and is located at Southland Mall at 20505 South Dixie Highway. Badagoo carries unique baby & toddler products, including baby bedding, low chemical feeding, learning toys & more.