Ghosts, goblins, Mommy yelling – Halloween can be pretty scary. But the candy, the costumes, decorations and running door to door threatening all your neighbors of 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
And drivers, be wary of trick-or-treaters even before it gets dark, drive slowly and pay attention! Let’s make this Halloween a safe one!!
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician