It’s getting to be that spooky time of year again; it’s almost Halloween. Halloween is that one day of the year you allow your kids to dress up in a scary costume, eat endless candy, and stay up well past their bedtime. But unfortunately, frightening statistics confirm that Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for our children.
To help ensure your little goblins trick or treat extravaganza is as safe as it is entertaining, we’ve put together this list of 10 easy to follow Halloween safety tips.
1. Use caution with glow sticks.
Glow sticks offer great visibility (and let’s be honest, they’re fun) but glow sticks can also be hazardous because their bright colors tempt your children to take a bite. The colorless liquid inside a glow stick is low in toxicity but will likely irritate your child’s skin and eyes. If your child ingests the glow stick liquid, the Carolinas Poison Center recommends that you have your child drink a glass of water, and wipe out his mouth with a wet washcloth (focusing on his tongue and gums). Don’t be shocked if his lips and tongue glow for a few minutes.
2. Test face paint for allergic reaction.
Face paint can transform your child into the character of her dreams, but an allergic reaction will put a swift end to her night of candy grabbing. When selecting face paint, buy a quality product that displays non-toxic designations. A few days before Halloween test the paint on your child’s face according to the directions on the package to be sure it won’t trigger an allergic reaction or other skin irritation. Remember that face paint is preferred over masks that can obstruct your child’s vision. If your child must wear a mask, be sure the mask fits properly and that the eye holes are large enough for her to see clearly.
3. Choose second-hand costumes wisely.
Halloween costume hand-me-downs help save cash, but they are dangerous when they don’t fit your child properly. Your child can trip on a costume that’s too big. If you find a second hand costume that’s the perfect size, check its label to be sure it’s flame-retardant.
4. Even “big kids” need supervision.
Your older kids certainly don’t want you tagging along on Halloween night, but with freedom comes a few safety rules. Talk to your older child about the route they will take and if there are any areas that are off limits. Make sure they have their cell phone with them and check in with you at regular intervals. If they have a change of plans or get off course, be sure they know you expect them to call you immediately.
5. Don’t take pedestrian safety for granted.
According to State Farm Insurance, twice the number of children are fatally injured on Halloween than on any other day of the year. One quarter of fatalities occur between 6:00p.m. and 7:00 p.m. And although we’re usually most concerned for our youngest children, State Farm statistics show that 32 percent of child fatalities are children ages 12 to 15. Remind your kids of general traffic safety rules such as crossing at crosswalks and using sidewalks when available, but also make them aware that darting out into the street between parked cars is very dangerous because drivers won’t see them coming.
6. Remind kids of basic safety rules.
Whether you’re escorting your toddler or letting your tween enjoy Halloween on their own, chat with your kids about basic safety rules. Remind them to only approach homes with the lights on, never enter a home, and toss candy that’s not in an original wrapper. Year-round rules like not getting into a car with a stranger bear repeating.
7. Role play scenarios.
Talking with older children about “what ifs” can help both of you feel more comfortable about them trick-or-treating on their own. Ask your child what she’d do if someone stole her candy, dared her to toilet-paper a tree, or a stranger asked her to step inside their home. You can’t prevent these types of situations from happening, but talking about then will help her navigate the challenge with greater confidence.
8. Beware of allergies and choking hazards.
Lots of children have food allergies. If your child is one of them, remind her that you have to check her candy before she eats it. Spread her treats out on the kitchen table and swap out dangerous treats for ones she can enjoy or offer non-food items like inexpensive toys. If you have a toddler, keep a close watch on what that little goblin is putting in his mouth. Hard candy is a notorious choking hazard.
9. Download the FBI’s Child ID app.
As Halloween approaches, there couldn’t be a better time to download the FBI’s Child ID app. It’s free, and in addition to offering you a place to electronically store photos and critical information about your child, it also offers a wealth of information about what to do if your child is missing. We especially appreciate that the app gives you the power to quickly and easily email information about your missing child to authorities.
10. Consider temporary tattoos for safety.
Like a lot of parents you might not be a big fan of temporary tattoos, but this special Halloween safety tattoo from SafetyTat can help keep your child safe should he or she get lost. Fill in your contact information on the SafetyTat website and you’ll receive your child’s custom tattoo (displaying your phone number) in the mail.
Use our tips to help keep your kids safe this trick or treat season and enjoy the year’s spookiest holiday to its fullest.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more