Ghosts, goblins, Mommy yelling – Halloween can be pretty scary. But the candy, the costumes, decorations and running door to door threatening all your neighbors with a “trick” makes it one of the most exciting days of the year!
Unfortunately, the more fun and immersed into the festivities, the more dangerous for our little ones. 160,000 injuries occur on this day each year, and even scarier, Halloween is the deadliest for pediatric pedestrians with 6100 fatalities reported annually by the National Safety Council. No holiday should end so tragically.
In addition to this, parents need to be aware of fire and choking hazards. We therefore recommend the following to keep our kids safe.
- Make sure your child’s mask allows him/her to see clearly. If not, replace with non-toxic makeup, that is tested a few days before on a small area of skin on their arm to ensure they are not allergic. The makeup should be washed off before bedtime.
- Avoid long costumes, such as ghost-themed, that may trip your child while they walk/run.
- Use bright-colored costumes. If your child insists on a dark costume, such as Batman, put a belt of glow sticks around him or add reflective tape to their costume and trick or treat bags
- Make sure all costumes and hats are flame resistant and teach your kids how to avoid tripping over jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Avoid costume contact lenses as they may decrease visual acuity, scratch the eye and cause infection.
- Use the sidewalk. Your child will want to zig zag across the street when they see everyone else doing it. You need to be the parent like me who yells at everyone to get back on the sidewalk.
- Watch out for drunk drivers. Many are coming back from a “trick or drink” party and could be impaired.
- Make the “no eating candy until you get home” rule. Allows you to check the candy for open wrappers and dangerous things that don’t belong. Then steal your favorite treats when the child is taking his/her potty break
- Teach your child to not enter a stranger’s home – even if it is in full decoration
- Stay in a group and follow your children. You can leave a safe distance behind while still supervise. And its fun when we parents compete for who can yell at our kids the loudest.
- Carry Walkie Talkies. Halloween streets get loud and kids may not hear you if they start walking down a different street and turn into a housing complex. Walkie talkies are fun and keep you connecting with your younglings’ even if they are a few feet away.
- Parents should avoid “Trick-o-Drink!!”ing where we walk around with our red plastic cup and rather than ask for candy, we opt for some spirits poured in. Parents giggle, feeling apart of the festivities, but unfortunately will be sloshed by the fourth home they hit and won’t be able to effectively supervise the children. We need to be at the top of our game this Halloween. Cut the booze.
- And drivers, be wary of trick-or-treaters even before it gets dark. Drive slowly and pay attention! Let’s have a Happy and Safe one!!!
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician