Gone are the days of sending your kids out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat with their siblings or friends. From tainted candy to drunken drivers, Halloween is actually one of the deadliest holidays of the year for children...even more so than Independence Day and New Year's Eve/Day. With that sobering statistic in mind, here are 5 Halloween safety tips to keep your family protected this Halloween.
1. Be wary of picking your child's costume accessories.
Trying on multiple wigs and snapping selfies? Fun! Coming home with head lice? Not so much. While many people associate head lice with the start of the new school year, it could actually be the result of Halloween costume shopping according to this news article. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends against letting your child wear decorative contact lenses, no matter how much the packaging claims that they're "safe." Making sure your child's makeup is non-toxic as well as their accessories being short and soft (as opposed to, say, a long, sharp sword) round out the AAP's top safety tips (view their safety recommendations in totality by clicking here).
2. Make sure your child's costume can be seen at night.
If your child has picked a dark costume this year, make sure to give them a flashlight, a glow stick, or something reflective to carry with them so they can be easily seen in the dark. Halloween takes the top stop as the deadliest holiday for children due to pedestrian accidents, so make sure your child is clearly visible to drivers (for a more in depth report on the child fatality statistics of Halloween, click here).
3. Go trick-or-treating with children of all ages.
Believe it or not, a study of child fatality accidents on Halloween from 1990-2010 found that there were more fatalities in children aged 12-15 than those aged 5-8. Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk (because how many crosswalks do you have in YOUR neighborhood?), making it clear that it takes an experienced adult to watch out for the hidden dangers of the night rather than trusting the judgement of an excited (and distracted!) pre-teen or teen.
4. Only visit houses/neighborhoods you know or go to a locally-held group event for trick-or-treating.
Not all neighborhoods are created equal safety-wise, so if you are unsure of one, it's best not to let your kids go randomly knocking on doors. Pick a neighborhood you're familiar with or have family in. Or, pick a locally held event for trick-or-treating like those held at the mall or local churches. Above all else, remind children to never go inside anyone's house or car to obtain their candy.
5. Check your child's candy before they eat any of it.
Even though the fear of someone intentionally messing with your child's candy on Halloween is much greater than the actual occurrence of it happening, it's still a good idea for you to check your child's candy before they eat any of it. Discard any pieces that are not in their original wrapping or look tampered with.
Bonus Tip: Help your pets stay safe this Halloween by keeping candy out of their reach and keeping cats (especially black cats!) indoors.
Everyone knows that chocolate is bad for dogs but it's also lethal for cats as well. Also, the common ingredient Xylitol found in sugar-free candies can be downright deadly for your pooch or kitty, so make sure they aren't able to accidentally get into anyone's candy stash. Finally, black cats have all sorts of connotations that go along with Halloween, so it's best to keep them indoors this holiday away from anyone that would like to do them harm.