NEWARK–Halloween is an exciting time of year for children. The last thing that any parent wants is an accident or injury to ruin the holiday. However, roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are injured while walking on Halloween evening as compared with other evenings of the year, and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on that night.
By using safety tips and common sense, families can help their youngsters to make the most of Halloween events.
“Children need to be supervised by a parent or guardian on Halloween to avoid any injury,” says Joshua Rosenblatt, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “Pedestrian fatalities involving children most frequently occur between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. which is prime trick- or-treating time. Special precautions should be taken to ensure safety.”
To help little ghosts and goblins have a safe holiday, here are some tips from Children’s Hospital of new Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
ALL DRESSED UP:
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Add reflective tape to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
- Masks can limit or block eyesight. Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats instead.
- When shopping for costumes, purchase those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- Teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.
HOME SAFE HOME:
- To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
- A responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- If older children are going alone, plan and review the route. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- Stay in a group and discuss where they will be going. Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys. Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
- Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
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