I am a mother of three elementary-aged children. I want to make sure my kids stay safe this Halloween season. Do you have any suggestions?
— Katie, Twin Falls
Answered by Page Geske, Manager, Safe Kids Magic Valley:
H all oween should be a night for fun, costumes, harvest parties and trick-or-treating, but not tragedy. Did you know that on average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween compared to any other day of the year?
It is very important to review safety tips before you head out into your neighborhood trick-or-treating with your children.
Children will be out after dark, which makes it harder for drivers to see them. Because they’re excited about getting candy, they may not be watching out for cars. Parents and drivers need to do their part to help kids stay out of the emergency room on Halloween. Emphasize safe pedestrian behaviors to kids before they go out trick-or-treating.
Drivers must slow down and watch out for trick-or-treaters, especially around crosswalks and driveways.
For parents and children
• Children under 12 should trick or treat and cross streets with an adult.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks. Parents should remind children to watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
• Look left, right and left again when crossing. Keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run across the street.
• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
• Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
• Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
About costumes and treats:
• Costumes can be both creative and safe. It is best to look for ways to use reflective materials as part of the costume and treat bags.
• Try to choose light colored costumes to improve visibility.
• Choose face paint and makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. Look for nontoxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup.
• Avoid carrying sticks, swords or other sharp objects.
• Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as to be seen by drivers.
• Liquid in glow sticks is hazardous, so parents should remind children not to chew on or break them.
• Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded or torn, or if the candy is unwrapped.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not stop or delay seeking treatment because of something you read in this article. Further, the views or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily represent those of St. Luke’s. Reliance on any information provided by St. Luke’s, St. Luke’s employees or others supplying information for the column at the invitation of St. Luke’s is solely at your own risk.