Leading injury risks for children at Halloween time are pedestrian injuries, falls and burns. Help ensure that your little ghosts and goblins return safely from trick-or-treating with the following tips.
- Make children more visible to drivers by attaching retro-reflective tape, fabric, or decorative patches (available at fabric stores) to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. White or light-colored costumes may be somewhat more visible at close range, but only retro-reflective materials are considered highly visible in low light.
- Give trick-or-treaters flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
Reminders for children:
- Walk, don't run, while trick-or-treating.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths, when available.
- Stop at all corners.
- Cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks.
- Look left-right-left again before crossing. Don't cross if a car is coming.
- Never run into the street from between parked cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Remember that Minnesota law requires drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk, where there are no traffic control signals in place. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has completely passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped.
- Watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways. They may have difficulty judging the speed and distance of approaching vehicles.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Teach children to get in and out of the car on the curb side, away from the traffic.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut larger eye holes if necessary.
- Make costumes short enough to prevent trips and falls.
- Adjust hats so they won't slip over children's eyes. Dress children in shoes that fit.
- Children should carry only softer, flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
- Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are hidden hazards in the dark.
- Look for "flame resistant" labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
- Use fire resistant materials 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.
- An adult or older sibling should walk with children under age 12. Have older children bring a cell phone along.
- Decide with your children where they will go. Keep them in your neighborhood or going only to homes of people you know. Set a specific time by which children should be home.
- Children should stop only if houses or apartments are well-lit.
- Tell children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless they are with an adult.
- Remind kids not to eat any of their treats until parents have had a chance to check them. Candy should be thrown away if it is unwrapped or wrapper is torn.
For more information about preventing injuries to children, contact the Minnesota Safety Council at 651-291-9150 or 1-800-444-9150.
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