Don’t forget to talk to your kids about Halloween safety
When kids dress up as their favorite superhero, princess or goblin, they probably have only one thing on their mind: pull off tricks and fill their candy container to the brim. But parents know there’s more to celebrating the holidays than picking out a costume and ringing the doorbell in the neighborhood. Taking precautions ensures Halloween is both fun and safe, said Gina Peek, a housing and consumer specialist at Oklahoma State University Extension and acting associate dean.
“The costume is the main attraction of Halloween. Whether kids choose to be a ghost, superhero, or another favorite character, making sure the costume is safe is key,” Peek said.
Costume safety tips include:
- Choose flame resistant costumes, wigs and accessories. That doesn’t mean the suit won’t catch fire; rather, it indicates that the material will resist combustion and should die out quickly.
- Choose brightly colored, reflective costumes to help make children more visible to motorists. Parents can add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags.
- Make sure costumes fit snugly to avoid tripping.
- Props such as swords, brooms, canes or other objects should not be sharp or bulky.
- Consider face paint instead of a mask which can obscure vision and restrict breathing.
Before parents or older siblings take kids out for trick-or-treating, talk to them about the safety rules, said Laura Hubbs-Tait, OSU Extension parenting specialist.
“It’s important for kids to understand that while Halloween is fun and exciting, it’s also a time to be extra careful,” Hubbs-Tait said. “Children are often in a rush when they are eager to get from one house to another, so it is essential to instill the importance of safety rules, especially when it starts to get dark.”
General safety tips include:
- Only visit the homes of people you know.
- Cross streets at intersections.
- Emphasis on walking only – no running allowed.
- Stay on the sidewalks. If there isn’t one in the neighborhood, walk near the sidewalk facing traffic.
- Bring a flashlight.
- Discuss safe and acceptable walking routes with tweens who want to walk on their own.
- Never go inside a house or vehicle to get candy.
- Wait until parents can inspect all candies before consuming any.
“We discuss all the safety rules for kids making tricks or treats, but there are also some guidelines for parents to keep in mind for themselves,” Hubbs-Tait said. “The most common type of accident on Halloween is a pedestrian injury.”
Advice for parents:
- When driving in a neighborhood, be extra vigilant to prevent children from unexpectedly running into the road.
- Drive slower than normal in neighborhoods.
- For those decorating their lawns for the holidays, make sure the decorations don’t present a tripping hazard for cheaters.
- For those staying home to hand out candy, make sure the porch and lawn are well lit.
“Halloween is such a fun time for kids and parents. Following this advice will help keep everyone safe,” Hubbs-Tait said.