The observance of Halloween is just one of many cherished childhood memories. Yet, each year, a large number of children are injured or killed on this night of masquerade, treats and fun. Reports indicate Halloween night is more dangerous to children ages 5 – 14, than any ordinary night. On Halloween night, compared to other nights, there are approximately four times as many children killed while walking.
As for Halloween-related injuries, the leading cause is falls. Research indicates the lack of supervision is the primary cause of Halloween-related injuries and death. During this festive holiday, Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue recommends parents and guardians protect their children from unintentional injuries or worse by closely supervising them when participating in Halloween activities.
If you plan on trick-or- treating, the Center for Disease Control summarizes Halloween safety as the following:
Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters or hosting a Halloween party, be sure:
- Walking areas are well-lit and free of obstacles.
- Items lit with candles, i.e. jack-o-lanterns and luminaries:
- Place away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains.
- Place on sturdy tables.
- Keep out of reach from children and small pets.
- Never leave unattended.
For a healthier and more active party:
Provide nutritious snacks, i.e. individual packs of raisins, trial mix, pretzels, fruits, vegetables and cheese. Kids get excited when playing games so choose a variety of party games that will increase their physical activity.
On the Road
If you’re out and about on Halloween night, Safe Kids USA in conjunction with Federal Express suggests the following safety tips:
Drive slowly and safely while being observant of children at intersections, medians and curbs. Trick-or-treaters are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways such as avoiding the use of sidewalks and running between parked cars.
Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
* Remember: typical trick or treat hours are between 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
When decorating for that added special effect follow these simple safety tips:
- Inspect decorations for loose connections, frayed or bare wires and broken or cracked sockets. Hang lights using plastic hooks or clips to reduce the risk of electric shock and fire hazards. Never nail or staple light strings.
- Don't overload extension cords. Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage decorations such as fog machines and electrically-powered inflatable decorations.
- Look for the UL Mark on light strings, electrical decorations and extension cords. The UL Mark means the product has been found free of foreseeable hazards and is safer for your family.
- Keep candles away from items that easily catch fire, such as decorations, window treatments, and paper. Halloween is the fifth highest day for reported candle fires. Candles are the cause of approximately 15,000 reported house fires every year.