Halloween Trick Or Treat Safety Tips

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About 40 million kids aged 5 to 14 will be trick-or-treating on Halloween, estimates the US Census Bureau. Unfortunately, it isn’t the safest night of the year, where children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year. Keep your child safe this year with tips offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

First, when planning your child’s costume, ensure that it is short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Wear comfortable, well-fitted, low-heeled shoes as well. Because some houses may place candles inside jack o’lanterns, be sure that the costume is not flammable or teach children to avoid open flame, as burns are another common Halloween hazard. Consider adding reflective tape to dark costumes so they can be seen in a car’s headlights.

Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider instead non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as a safer alternative. Remember also to check out any costume accessories, such as swords or wands, for sharp edges.

Secondly, when going from house to house, give each child a flashlight with fresh batteries not only to help light the way, but also to increase their visibility to others. A responsible adult chaperone should always accompany young child, even within their own neighborhoods. For older children, consider having them carry a cell phone to call 911 if they need help. Remind them that everyone should stay together as a group.

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Always stay on well-lit streets and use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic and cross at establish crosswalks. Never cut across yards or use dark alleys.

Once home, parents should sort and check all treats and throw away any that is spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious.

"Children should be out having fun and spending time with family and friends,” says Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the ACEP. “They should not have to spend Halloween in the ER because of some injury that could have been easily prevented."

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Image Credit: Don Hankins via Flickr.com

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