Halloween Safety Tips for Parents and Children
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) more than 171 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, spending an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34. Total spending is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the history of NRF’s annual survey. The survey also finds that 7 in 10 consumers plan to hand out candy, and nearly half will decorate their home or dress in costume.
With more and more people getting in on the fun, it’s important to brush up on keeping your home, children, and families safe during the holiday.
#1. Make your House Safe
When you invite someone on your property, you are responsible for making sure the property is safe and free from dangerous conditions. According to a study conducted by the Department of Research and Scientific Affairs, children ages 10-14 suffered the greatest amount of injuries on Halloween. To ensure the safety of children (and the adults who accompany them):
- Decorate Safely. Make sure there is a safe distance between trick-or-treaters and decorations that fly, pop up, or jump out. You don’t want a child to be knocked over (and traumatized) by a scary creature. Check to make sure electric cords are secured in place.
- Clear walkways. Before trick-or-treaters start to arrive, survey your yard for any potential trip and slip hazards. Make sure your walkways are free of sticks, stones and any other debris that could be a tripping hazard.
- Fix wobbly stairs. The last thing you want on a night when you’re going to have a lot of foot-traffic, is a chance for anyone to lose their footing on your property. Take the opportunity to make any necessary repairs before the big night.
- Secure railings. Check railings to ensure they don’t wobble or come loose in any way. Fix and/or reinforce as necessary.
#2. Keep your Dog Secure
Halloween is not a dog’s best friend. The night will be full of knocks, loud noises, and strangers in unusual costumes yelling for candy. Dogs may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters (or worse). Put your dog in a secure room, away from the front door, in order to prevent any unwanted or unsafe encounters.
#3. Eliminate Fire Dangers
Keep candlelit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended. Costumes, paper decorations, and ornamental straw can easily catch on fire. Instead of a traditional candle, consider battery powered options.
#4. Look Both Ways
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records, pedestrian fatalities increase three-fold on Halloween. Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, motorists and parents must be even more alert. To avoid pedestrian accidents:
- Stay together. Remind children to stay together as a group and walk from house to house. Also, review how to cross a street with your child. Look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are approaching before crossing the street.
- Accompany young children. AAA recommends parents accompany trick-or-treaters until the age of 12. And groups of children are easier for motorists to spot than lone children.
- Cross at the crosswalk. Remind children never to cross the road mid-block or between parked cars. Studies show nearly three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur at places other than the crosswalk.
- Check costumes. Make sure masks don’t obstruct your child’s vision, adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping and add reflective materials or tape to make kids visible. Don’t wear costumes that are all dark.
#5. Avoid Driving at Night
It’s wise to avoid driving on any major holiday, but Halloween poses a heightened risk of intoxicated drivers on the roadway. As a “party” holiday, you can expect more irresponsible drivers on the road. Halloween falls on a Monday night this year, so expect most parties to take place the previous weekend. Play it safe by staying in or carpooling the weekend before and the night of Halloween. If your children plan on trick-or-treating, tell them to double-check for cars before crossing the street and not to assume that a driver will stop for them.