By Tom Christensen, County of San Diego Communications Office
Halloween is a holiday all about spooky, frightful and scary things, but there are a few important things you can do as parents to help make sure your child has a safe trick-or-treating adventure.
“The biggest thing you can do as a parent is be involved with planning your child’s trick-or-treat outing and take some precautions to help ensure their safety,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., child health medical officer for the County Health and Human Services Agency. “These days it’s important to remind both children and adults to stay off their electronic devices while they are out and concentrate on their surroundings for safety concerns.”
Being hit by a vehicle while walking is the most common injury to children on Halloween, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The website Safekids.org says on average, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween as any other day of the year.
Here are some tips to help ensure children have a safe Halloween:
- Children should wear bright, age-appropriate costumes that are made of flame-retardant materials and that don’t hinder their mobility
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible
- Young children should be accompanied by an adult or older sibling
- Older children trick-or-treating without supervision should walk in groups and have a set time to return home
- If your child is going out unaccompanied by an adult, make sure someone in their group has a cell-phone so they can be reached and can use it in case of an emergency
- Teach children to stay off their electronic devices while walking, look both ways when crossing streets, use crosswalks and never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights (make sure the batteries are fresh or recharged) to help them see and be seen by drivers
- Children should not enter homes of people they do not know and never approach a vehicle to accept a treat
- Throw away anything that looks tampered with or is unwrapped
- Do not eat homemade treats, unless you know the person who made them
Safety also doesn’t end when the trick-or-treating is done.
“Parents should inspect all treats before their children eat them because most likely they came from someone you don’t know,” Sidelinger concluded. “You should also try to ration out the treats to keep your child from consuming their entire goodie haul at one time.”
- You could also donate candy to our military personnel. San Diego County’s Childhood Obesity Initiative supports Operation Gratitude that will take your donations of candy and distribute it to deployed troops and first responders. You can find the nearest donation location by entering your ZIP code.
Photo Credit: SD County