SILVER SPRING, Md, October 30, 2013 – It is that time of year again, when goblins and ghost roam the streets…along with fairies, princesses, and pretty much any other type of character you can imagine. While having young children make Halloween a whole new fun experience for parents, it also can offer safety issues. Here are some tips to ensure that your little one has a great time while staying safe.
Avoid costume related danger
The first line of defense in making sure there are no accidents during your trick-or-treating is to ensure that all your costumes are as safe as possible. This means bright colors that can be seen by drivers, face paint instead of masks with narrow eye-slits, shoes that fit properly and dresses that are an appropriate length to prevent tripping. Of course, for every face-painted vampire out there, there is one masked ninja or superhero. So, if the mask is a must, try opening the eye holes to fit your child’s head, and let him have an indoor test run before setting out in order to check visibility. And if the costume would be “completely ruined” by adding reflective tape to an otherwise all black, or darkly colored, outfit, find a compromise by adding the tape to the trick-or-treating container your child will be carrying.
Travel in a group
Traveling in a group not only is more fun but it is safer. Groups are easier to see in the dark. It also helps prevent people from getting lost, as it is easier to stay with and follow a group if you are visiting an unfamiliar neighborhood. However, if you are going with a group, make sure you are not the only chaperone for a large group of children. Talk to the parents of the other children traveling in your pack and make sure there are a sufficient number of adults to accompany you. It is easier enough for a group of children to get riled up, but the excitement of Halloween can make them unruly monsters in more than just costume, so more adults rather than fewer are needed.
Take a flashlight
Flashlights might seem like an over precaution, but really it is a matter of being prepared. Sure your street may be brightly lit by street lights and have clearly defined sidewalks, but what about the next street over? What if a child drops a piece of their costume that they just cannot live without? Having the flashlight will make looking for, and possibly finding, the object all that much easier. What if you need to dig through a purse or a backpack for first aid items to tend to a skinned knee? Even if you do not think you will need the light, take at least one with you. And if you know that you will be walking on poorly lit streets or through darker patches, make sure everyone in your group has their own light with fresh batteries.
Dress for the weather
Much of the fun of Halloween comes from dressing up. Kida can really take pride in their costumes, and nothing can dampen the spirit of that fun like putting a ski jacket over their disguise. However, while kids think of the image first, parents need to consider the realities of their climate and the weather that befalls Halloween. Some places get lucky with milder weather; others can be hit by a night of frigid air.
When possible try to find warm dressing options that will fit under a child’s costume to accommodate for cooler temperatures. If it truly cold and you do not want to dampen the mood, you might want to look for an indoor trick-or-treating event. Sometimes these are held at community centers or even malls. If you are in some of the areas of the country that stay warm year round, make sure your child’s costume is not going to cause heat stroke. Too much muscle padding under the sun at a mid-day costume party can cause problems. Ultimately, no matter how much your child protests, he will have more fun if he is appropriately dressed for his night out.
Stick to the sidewalks
Sidewalks are common in many neighborhoods across the country. When they are present, it is safest to make sure children stay on them and avoid the road or cutting through yards. You never know what dips and divots may be in a lawn to twist an ankle or cause a fall. Sidewalks are also safer than streets since you do not have to worry about cars on sidewalks. When crossing the street, do so as a group and at a crosswalk where possible.
If you wind up in a neighborhood without sidewalks, make sure everyone is using their flashlight so that they can be seen and so they can see what is on the ground in front of them. Do not walk down the center of the street, stick to the edge of the road on the side facing traffic.
Do not forget your cell phone
In this day and age you can make a call from almost anywhere. This is particularly helpful in case of emergencies, but the one caveat is that you must have your cell phone on you to make that call. It is easy enough to forget your phone when you walk out of the house, especially if being hurried by a pack of excited children. However, take the extra moment to make sure you have your phone in your pocket, your purse, or your hand. Whether you need to communicate that you are running behind schedule, call for a car pick-up of an exhausted child, or you have an actual emergency, you will be glad you have such a convenient communication device available, and you will be cursing yourself if you have forgotten it.
Halloween is a night full of fun. Take a little extra precaution and all you will have to worry about is how late the kids are going to be up because of all the sugar they have eaten.
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