Safety tips for Halloween

October 26, 2011

Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Program wants to help parents keep children safe this spooky season.

“Halloween can be a fun but also dangerous time of the year for many children,” said Kristen Beckworth, Injury Prevention program coordinator. “Children are four times more likely to be injured or killed while walking on Halloween than any other time of the year. We work to prevent pedestrian injuries throughout the year, but especially during Halloween – we want children to be safe and to be seen.”

Here are safety tips to keep those little goblins and ghosts safe:

Watch for cars while trick-or-treating

Motor-pedestrian accidents are the most common injuries to children on Halloween. To avoid them:
  • Teach children appropriate crossing locations (the cross walk or at a corner).
  • Never cross in the middle of the street.
  • Children should learn how to properly cross the street (look left, right, then left again before crossing).

Keep your eyes on the sky
  • Dusk is the most dangerous time of the evening to trick-or-treat, because there's little contrast in the sky. Drivers may not have turned on their lights, and street lights have not yet come on.

Keep costumes comfy and safe

  • Make sure your child's costume is the right size. Costumes should be snug and comfortable. If they are too baggy, kids may trip and fall, or loose material may catch fire on jack-o-lanterns or candles.
  • Children should wear costumes/clothing that can easily be seen in the dark (such as reflective clothing).
  • Use age-appropriate props with costumes so children don’t injure themselves or others.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit. If the shoes are part of the costume, make sure they will not be a tripping hazard as your child is walking.
  • Eyeholes in a mask should be large enough for your child to see clearly.
  • When using face paint, make sure it is non-flammable .

Additional safety tips include essential trick-or-treating “do’s and don’ts”:

  • Do trick-or-treat in groups with an adequate adult-to-child ratio.
  • Do keep a consistent head count.
  • Don't let children younger than 12 trick-or-treat without an adult.
  • Do inspect all treats before allowing children to eat them.
  • Do use safe pedestrian behaviors.
  • Don’t let your children become too lax in dealing with strangers.
  • Don’t transport groups of children in the back of a pick-up truck. This is against the law.

Children’s Medical Center is committed to child safety year-round, but Halloween-specific safety efforts this year include:

  • Halloween Spooktacular Event at NorthPark Center, Saturday, Oct. 29 from noon– 4 p.m.: Enjoy performances by Mad Science, face painting, craft activities, a teddy bear play clinic, and pick up important safety information about staying visible and safe on Halloween from the Children’s booth. Handouts include reflective bracelets and necklaces, reflective trick-or-treat bags, flashing strobe buttons and a fun Halloween safety maze worksheet. This free, family-friendly event will be held on the first floor of North Park Center in the NorthCourt area.

  • Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo, Oct. 27-29 from 5-8 p.m.: The gates of the Dallas Zoo creep open for special evening celebrations that will get the ghouls and boys howling with laughter. The zoo closes at 4 p.m. and reopens at 5 p.m.  Dress the kids in costumes for this not-so-scary event. Meet Zoohilda and her wacky sisters; travel to the neighborhood of storybook characters; catch the "Monster Mash" on Cat Green; find serpents, newts, and toads in the reptile building; and trick-or-treat around ZooNorth and the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo. End the night with a backward spin on the Haunted Carousel. Enjoy face painting, a teddy bear play clinic, and pick up important safety information about staying visible and safe on Halloween from the Children’s booth. Handouts include reflective bracelets and necklaces, reflective trick-or-treat bags, flashing strobe buttons and a fun Halloween safety maze worksheet. Cost is $10 per person age 3 and older (includes six candy coupons per person).

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