Saturday, October 27, 2012


I must admit, Halloween is my favorite time of year.  Running through the neighborhood with my cousins on Halloween night, all of us toting pillow cases full of candy without a care in the world, are probably my fondest memories as a kid. 

That "without a care in the world" attitude, special to being a child, is what concerns us in the safety business and is the impetus for writing articles this time of year warning parents about the dangers that lurk in the darkness on this night where spooks and goblins rein free. 

According to the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 5-14 are four times more likely to be killed while walking on Halloween night that at any time of the year.  Falls are the number one cause for injury, followed by being struck by a vehicle.

In addition to falls and pedestrian accidents, this is also the time of year to be especially vigilant for accidental fires due to the increased use of candles as Halloween decorations. 

So, for a safe Halloween filled with fun and treats, I recommend the following safety tips taken from the U.S. Fire Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide sponsored by Fed Ex.:

  • Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
  • Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.
  • Carry a cell phone and know how to reach you and how to call 911 in an emergency, like if they get lost.
  • Have their full names and phone number attached to their costumes somewhere if they are too young to remember them.
  • Bring treats home before eating them so you can inspect them.  Although the risk that your child's candy has been tampered with is extremely low, there is also the chance that the candy is unwrapped or spoiled.
  • Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.
  • Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks, and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
  • Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.  The label should say "Flame Resistant".
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks (Masks can obstruct a child's vision).
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes to prevent tripping accidents.
  • Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  • Tell your kids to stay away from candles and jack-o'-lanterns that may be on steps and porches.
  • Kids should never carry candles when they are trick-or-treating.  Always use a flashlight, flameless candle, or light sticks.
  • Don't use candles for decorations.
  • Use only decorative lights tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory like UL.  Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.  Throw away damaged sets.
  • Don't overload extension cords.

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