Halloween Safety Tips To Avoid Accidents and Injuries While Trick-or-Treating
Halloween is a fun time of year for kids, but the presence of many excited children on dark streets increases the risk of danger and injury.
In a recent study the Centers for Disease Control stated children may be four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than at other times of the year.
Cars are not the only danger kids will face on the streets of West Virginia and elsewhere. They face an array of potential hazards ranging from dangerous dogs, unsafe costumes and contaminated candy.
The good news is parents can help safeguard their children from getting injured at Halloween by following some basic safety tips issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council. They include:
- The National Safety Council says dress your children in costumes that are bright and reflective, where possible. Make sure their shoes are not loose and that costumes are short enough to prevent trips and falls, entanglement or contact with flame.
- If costumes are not bright enough on their own, consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags to improve visibility.
- Masks can pose hazards. Because they can limit the line of vision, instead consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit snugly so as they don’t slip over the eyes.
- Parents are often not aware of the fire risks inherent in Halloween costumes. When shopping for costumes or wigs, make sure to buy those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
- Kids like to look frightening at Halloween but be aware there are some accessories such as plastic swords which can be too sharp and are inappropriate. Long sticks can also pose tripping hazards.
- Many of the streets kids walk down to trick-or-treat can be very dark, particularly in rural parts of West Virginia. Make sure your kids are equipped with flashlights with fresh batteries.
- Teach children how to call 911 if they get into trouble or become lost.
- Carving the pumpkin is all part of the fun of Halloween but don’t let small children carve pumpkins with sharp objects, says the National Safety Council. There are other tasks they can do such as drawing a face with markers.
- Consider using a flashlight or a glow stick instead of a candle to light up your pumpkin. Candles are one of the biggest causes of fires at Halloween. If you do use a candle it should never be left unattended and it should be kept away from curtains or other objects that are liable to catch fire.
- Never let young children roam the neighborhood alone. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany them.
- Although older children often go out in groups without adult supervision, you should review the route they plan to take and set a time when they should return home.
- Make sure to only approach homes with a porch light on that appear to be welcoming to trick-or-treaters. Never enter a home or a vehicle for a treat.
- Pedestrian injuries are the most common injury experienced over Halloween. Make sure to cross roads at crosswalks or lights and always look out for cars. Don’t cross between parked cars.
- Reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags will help you to be seen.
- Aim to carry a cellphone for quick communication.
- Walk on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. In locations where there is no sidewalk, walk at the far edge of the roadway and face oncoming traffic.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys while trick-or-treating.
- Contaminated candy is rare but an adult should always check the candy given to kids before they eat it.
Make Your Home Safe
- As a homeowner or occupier you should ensure your property is safe for trick-or-treaters. Remove trip hazards such as ladders, bikes, garden hoses and toys from porches.
- Parents should check their outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs to improve visibility.
- Wet leaves or snow should be removed from sidewalks and steps.
- Always restrain pets so as they don’t attack trick-or-treaters.
As well as trick-or-treating, there are many safe, organized Halloween activities going on in and around Charleston. See this guide to Halloween activities in the Charleston Gazette.
Ask a West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer
At West Law, we hope you and your family have an enjoyable and accident free Halloween. If you or a loved one is injured by someone else’s carelessness, we offer free consultations. We are located at 107 Hale Street, Suite 321, in Charleston, West Virginia, but our experienced West Virginia injury attorneys serve clients throughout the state. If it’s more convenient, we will come to you. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378.
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.