Most people think of Halloween as a time for fun and treats. However, roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year, and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween. Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.
Parents can help prevent children from getting injured at Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.
- Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
- Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.
- Know their phone number and carry coins for emergency telephone calls.
- Have their names and addresses attached to their costumes.
- Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them.
- Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.
When walking in neighborhoods, they should
- Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
- Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
- Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
- Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.
- Consider using face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.)
- Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
- Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
- Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
Parents and adults should:
- Supervise the outing for children under age 12.
- Establish a curfew (a return time) for older children.
- Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
- Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
- Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.
- Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters
- Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
- Drive slowly.
- Watch for children in the street and on medians.
- Exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
- Have children get out of cars on the curb side, not on the traffic side.
- And a few tips about pumpkins:
- Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.
- Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin, then parents should do the cutting.
- Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave lighted pumpkins unattended.