Halloween is a time for children. It’s a celebration that allows them to use their imaginations, exercise their creativity, and express themselves with their costumes. Halloween is also a time for parents to be vigilant about the safety of their children, due to a number of risk factors associated with the celebration.
In Hawaii, dark falls earlier in late October, meaning that trick or treaters are likely to be making their rounds at night. This presents pedestrian safety concerns over the significantly reduced visibility of pedestrians. In 2011, the UPI reported that twice as many children are killed in pedestrian accidents than on any other day of the year.
Most child safety experts agree that children under 12 should not be allowed to cross the street without adult supervision. Parents of older trick or treaters who go out without supervision should be sure their children travel with a group along a predetermined route. All costumes should fit properly, as loose clothing can cause tripping and other injuries. Masks can obscure vision, so parents should consider using makeup as part of the costume.
Trick or treaters should carry glow sticks or flashlights to increase their own visibility while walking, and to increase their visibility to drivers on the road and other pedestrians. Parents should also decorate costumes and candy bags with reflective tape.
When purchasing costumes for their children, parents should be sure to verify that the costume is clearly labeled as fire resistant.
Parents should also use a pumpkin carving kit to create the Jack-o-lantern, because they are less sharp than common household knives. Children should never be given a knife to do the carving. Instead, they can help with the design of the pumpkin and help remove the seeds and pulp, and help prepare the seeds for roasting.
At home, parents can keep trick or treaters safe by removing pets from the porch area, remove loose objects that create a tripping hazard such as garden hoses and furniture, and make sure all outdoor lighting is working properly.
When children are out making rounds, a few simple tips can help keep them safe. Always keep to familiar well-lit streets. A parent or responsible adult should accompany small children at all times. Children should only approach homes with a porch light on or Jack-o-lantern in front. Older trick or treaters should carry a mobile phone for fast communication if a problem occurs.
The American Association of Pediatrics offers additional Halloween safety tips on their website, http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx.
As a personal injury law firm based in Hawaii we sincerely hope all families have a safe Halloween.