With Halloween weekend fast approaching, your Charleston accident attorneys at Howell Law thought it appropriate to share with our Child Injury Lawyer Blog readers some simple safety tips for parents that will help prevent child injuries. It is a little known fact that Halloween is one of the top holidays that result in pediatric emergency room visits, making these quick tips even more important.
Children under the age of 12 should always (emphasis added) have an accompanying adult when Trick-or-Treating, and if your children are old enough to go out by themselves, advise your ghouls and goblins to stick together in a group and travel on populated and familiar streets, staying on sidewalks, obeying traffic signals and only crossing the street at designated crosswalks. Also, it is a good idea, if your children are going out by themselves to have them take a cell phone in case of an emergency and a flashlight for increased visibility on dark streets and sidewalks. Street side safety is of particular importance because, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), children are four times more likely to be in a pedestrian car accident on Halloween than on any other night of the year.
It is of high importance to advise your youngsters to only approach homes that appear friendly to Trick-or-Treaters and are well lit. Also, children should never go enter a home they approach, and always remain outside when collecting their treats. While youngsters may be afraid of other monsters, ghouls, and goblins on Halloween, there remains the very real threat of unwholesome strangers.
In regards to costumes, parents should ensure their child’s costume is flame-retardant, bright colored (or glows in the dark, or has reflective strips), and is of appropriate length to prevent trips and falls. Accessories such as swords, knives, and wands should be made of soft and flexible material without sharp edges to prevent serious injuries in the event a quarrel arises between a young Pirate and a little Musketeer over a cute Snow White. Researchers from the CDCP warn that eye trauma from sharp objects and serious burn injuries from flammable costumes are common occurrences on Halloween.
Additionally, as a point not often thought of, parents should consider using non-toxic, hypoallergenic face paint instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, posing a serious safety risk to youngsters walking along streets at night.
While it may be mentioned last, it is probably the oldest rule in the book concerning Halloween safety, never (emphasis added) allow your children to eat unwrapped candy. It’s a good idea to inspect your child’s bounty at the end of the night and throw any items that are not factory wrapped, unwrapped, look suspicious, or appear to be homemade. Also, for the younger child, it is important to remove all choking hazards such as gum, small toys, and hard candies.
Also, its important for the general public and neighborhood residents to be aware of the times young Trick-or-Treaters will be out in their area as it will help prevent a real Halloween Horror Story. Here are just a few considerations to keep in mind while out and about during prime Trick-or-Treating hours; drive slowly through residential areas, be alert to children on sidewalks, enter and exit driveways with an extra air of caution (especially when backing out), and drive with your vehicle’s headlights on, even before sunset, to make sure your vehicle is visible by children.
Following these safety tips will aid in reducing the chance of any accidental injuries this Halloween, and keep the holiday spooky, scary, and most importantly safe!