As parents, and grandparents, we worry a lot don’t we? At Halloween, our thoughts turn more sinister as we worry about pedestrian safety, abductions, vandalism, poisoning, and personal injury. Scary stuff, and yet, we love the holiday don’t we?
As with the monster under the bed, a witch’s spell, or alien invasion, it’s best to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help make your Halloween safe:
Keeping Your Children Safe
➢ Supervise pumpkin carving
➢ Purchase or make costumes that are weather appropriate, flame resistant, fit properly, and allow for mobility and ample vision. Accessories should be safe as well, and not be dangerous, sharp, or trailing
➢ Do not allow children to trick-or-treat alone, or if under the age of 12; to trick or treat without an adult present
➢ Have children carry lighting devices, such as flashlights or glow sticks, and a charged cell phone for safety. (Flashlight apps can be downloaded to phones as well)
➢ And most importantly, each year talk to your children about safety concerns in a manner befitting their age. According to Safekids.org, parents should “engage in repeated discussions with all of their children about Halloween safety to reinforce the safety messages and promote desired behaviors.” Discuss, safe habits to avoid slip and fall or burn accidents, remind them of “stranger danger” and pedestrian safety procedures. Even if you are trick-or-treating with younger children, have a plan. Discuss where to meet, should you become separated, if phones are not available. Know where older kids are going, whom they are going with, and when they will be home.
➢ Inspect candy
Preparing for the Invasion of Goblins, Witches, Aliens and Ghouls
➢ Clear walkways, paths, stairs and landings of slip and fall hazards such as debris or leaves
➢ Provide Welcoming Light
➢ Give thought to the appropriate placement of Jack O’ Lanterns; away from children’s costumes and outside of pathways or landings
➢ Secure household pets
➢ If planning “Tricks,” remember that all aged children may be visiting (sometimes a note of warning is appreciated by parents)
➢ Buy well packaged “Treats”
➢ Expect the unexpected between 4pm-10pm when goblins will be roaming the neighborhood
➢ Travel cautiously; turn lights on early, and reduce speed
Studies by SafeKids.org indicate that parent fears regarding abduction and poisoning persist; disproportionate to their actual occurrence, and suggest that vehicle and pedestrian injuries should be of greater concern. “Twice as many pedestrian/vehicle incidents occur on Halloween between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm as compared to the same hours on other days throughout the year.”
Halloween isn’t just for children; increasingly more and more adults join the festivities as well. Many will attend Halloween parties with friends or go out for a night on the town. Having the potential of making the drivers on the road more frightening than any costume you may see.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 41% of the nations traffic fatalities occurring on Halloween night in 2010, involved drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. For this reason, public safety officials have launched a Halloween Driving Prevention Awareness Campaign and an aggressive “Drive sober, or Get Pulled Over” campaign this month. They know that a pedestrian or drunk driving accident will haunt us long after the holiday is over.
If planning a night out on the town where alcohol is involved please be responsible: plan ahead, use a designated driver, arrange a ride, call a taxi, or simply stay overnight. Prevent friends from driving drunk, and report unsafe drivers observed on the road.
With a few contingency plans and a little advanced preparation, we can certainly take the “fright” out of Halloween, leaving more time to enjoy the holiday, our neighborhood, our children, and yes, of course, their “treats”!
Briggs & Wholey attorneys wish you an enjoyable night!
Photo Credit: Cohdra, Morguefile.com