Halloween can be more scary than spooky for parents of trick-or-treaters.
It's one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Pedestrian injuries, burns and falls account for the majority of injuries on Halloween.
Preparing for a night of trick-or-treating should begin way before you head out the door.
Police suggest check out your children's trick-or-treating route in advance. Log onto www.familywatchdog.us or your state's law enforcement website in order to look for homes of possible sex offenders in your neighborhood.
Since your little ghosts and goblins will be walking around roadways in the dark, make sure drivers can see them. Plan ahead and include reflective clothing in their costumes....and make sure kids carry flashlights.
Speaking of drivers, make sure you talk to your kids about the "proper" way to cross the street before you leave the house...so they don't dart out into traffic.
Experts say it's also a good idea to go trick or treating with your children. Also when your kids come in with their goodies its important to check their sugary loot. Make sure you go through and check to make sure all the candy is in its original containers and that they're properly sealed, don't take homemade candy unless its from someone you know.
Here are some more tips from the Illinois State Police:
- Accompany children under 12 on their trick-or-treat rounds.
- Attach the name, address and phone number (including area code) of children under 12 to their clothes in case they get separated from adults.
- Teach your child their phone number. Make sure your child has change for a phone call in case they have a problem away from home.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre-established route.
- Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
- Set a time for children to return home.
- Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated.
- Remove breakable items or obstacles such as tools, ladders and children's toys from your steps, lawn and porch.
- Keep jack-o-lanterns lit with candles away from landings or doorsteps where costumes might brush against the flame.
- Tell children to bring their treats home before eating them.
- Parents should check treats to ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed. Be careful with fruit. Inspect the surface closely for punctures or holes and cut it open before allowing a child to eat it.
On Halloween night, cumbersome costumes and blinding masks can make walking safely through dark neighborhoods difficult. The following tips can help prevent fall-related injuries:
- Apply face paint or costumes directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut the eye holes large enough for full vision.
- Give trick-or-treaters flashlights.
- Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
- Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
- Dress children in shoes that fit.
- Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are "hidden hazards in the dark. Tell your children to stay on the sidewalk at all times.
Darting out into the street is one of the most common causes of pedestrian death among children. Follow a few safety tips for a safe Halloween:
- Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retro reflective tape and stickers.
- Use costumes that are light or bright enough to make children more visible at night.
- Teach children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating.
- Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
Motorists are encouraged to slow down in residential areas, obey all traffic signs and signals and watch for children as they back out of driveways and alleys. Teach your child to exit and enter your vehicle from the curb side, away from traffic.
Fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children. On Halloween, follow these simple tips to ensure your child returns home safe.
- Look for "flame resistant labels on costumes, masks and beards and wigs.
- Use fire resistant material when making costumes.
- Avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. These are more likely to come in contact with an exposed flame, such as a candle, than tighter fitting costumes.
- Keep candles, pumpkins with candles, matches and lighters out of children's reach.