Tips to Keep Halloween A Spooky, but Safe, Family Outing

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By: Aileen Imai, injury prevention coordinator, Kohl’s Cares Injury Prevention Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

halloween

The chance to dress up in costume, run around the neighborhood after dark and stock up on sweets makes Halloween the highlight of the year for many kids. However, roughly four times as many children aged 5 – 14 are killed while walking on Halloween compared with other evenings of the year; and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween.

Trick-or-treat activities frequently lead children to cross streets at mid-block rather than at corners or crosswalks, putting them at risk for pedestrian injury. Make this year’s Halloween safe for your entire family by following these tips.

Trick-or-Treating Tips

  • Always use cross walks and look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Plan a trick-or-treating route with an adult prior to trick-or-treating.
  • Set a time when children should return home.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home to receive candy.
  • Ensure that your child knows their home phone number, the cell phone numbers of parents and any other trusted adult who’s supervising and how to call 911 in case they get separated from the group.
  • Give your kids flashlights with new batteries to help them see where they are going, prevent falls and be seen by vehicles.
  • Trick-or-treat on well-lit streets.
  • Make sure trick-or-treaters are safe when visiting your home, too. Remove lawn decorations, sprinklers, toys, bicycles, wet leaves or anything that might obstruct their walkway. Provide a well-lit entrance to your home. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.
  • Choose a light-colored costume or add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the costume so your kids can be easily seen.
  • Put a name tag — with your phone number — on the inside of your child’s costumes.
  • Make sure that any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are flexible and don’t have sharp edges that could cut someone.

Preventing Halloween Treat Overload

  • Give your child a filling meal before they head out to trick-or-treat so they won’t be tempted to scarf down candy while out.
  • Once your trick-or-treaters have returned with their goodies, extend their bounty by letting them have a treat or two a day instead of leaving candy out in bags or bowls for kids to sample at will.
  • Consider purchasing Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, and sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.
  • When your kids get home, check all treats to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together. Throw out loose candy, spoiled items and any homemade treats that haven’t been made by someone you know.

Kohl’s Cares and Miller Children’s care about the children in the community, and these tips can help your family have a spooktacular and safe Halloween. For more information on pedestrian, Halloween and other safety tips, visit MillerChildrens.org/Kohls-Cares.

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