How to keep our little ghosts and goblins out of harms way.
If there is one holiday all children seem to love, it’s Halloween, and no wonder. Halloween has just the right mix of spooky fun, candy and costumes. But Halloween does pose its hazards, which is why Debra Smiley-Holtzman, author of The Safe Baby says parents need to be extra vigilant during this holiday. “If young children are going trick or treating, it’s important that parents accompany that child to every door. Do not let young children run to doors unattended. Make sure you hold the hand of children when they are crossing the street, because children are four times more likely to be injured in a pedestrian-related crash on Halloween, than they are on any other night.”
As far as costumes go, children should use makeup, not masks, so their vision isn’t limited. Avoid long flowing costumes, as they can be a tripping hazard. And because they’re running the streets at dark, flashlights, light costumes or reflective tape will help ensure that they are seen by drivers. And of course, children should never eat their prized candy until it’s been inspected by parents.
As for the older child who no longer wants to go door-to-door without Mom or Dad, pediatrician Dr. Richard Stanwick has a suggestion. If children are wanting to spread their (bat or angel) wings but aren’t really ready to trick-or-treat unaccompanied, then “parents could just tail behind and stay out of sight so that children can still have their fun while parents provide supervision.”
Of course that may not work for tweens and young teens still love to trick or treat. In that case, Smiley-Holtzman says that “they should be in groups, make sure they have a cell phone and tell them to not go inside any home. They need to stay outdoors. They need to not go to any homes that don’t have lights on or that look like no one’s at home.”
And when explaining these rules to the older child, Dr. Stanwick suggests that parents should do more than just tell their children what to do and not to do when they’re out trick or treating. They should actually rehearse scenarios, but not just with their own child. He says, “rehearse the group. This way you can use a little peer pressure so that if someone invites a child into the home the whole group will say ‘no way’.”
While this spooky, scary holiday is so much fun, a little caution ensure that Halloween never becomes frightening or spooky for real.