Topeka, KS– On Halloween, ghosts and ghouls may make your blood run cold but real dangers, like pedestrian accidents, falls, burns and poisonings are a scary reality. Safe Kids Kansas, the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Kansas Highway Patrol remind families to make safety part of your fall festivity planning.
On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Drivers need to slow down and be extra alert, especially in neighborhoods, as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks – and those kids may be focused on gathering candy and the excitement of the holiday rather than being careful while crossing streets.
Review safety rules with your kids before they leave the house. Trick-or-treaters are often out when it’s dark and more difficult for drivers to see them. Children younger than age 12 should not be crossing streets alone on Halloween without an adult or responsible teenager.
“While it’s a good idea for children to have a cell phone with them in case of an emergency, remind them to pay attention to their surroundings,” said Cherie Sage with Safe Kids Kansas. “Don’t be distracted from hazards because you are texting or talking on the phone.”
Parents and kids should also be careful with candy. It’s hard to resist the temptation to dive right into treats, but it is best to check sweets before children are allowed to eat them. Only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of home structure fires happened because decorations were too close to a heat source. Most of these incidents were started by candles. Play it safe and use battery powered candles or lights.
“Halloween monsters may give you a fright, but fire is something truly scary. Make sure your family has working smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside every sleeping room,” said Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal. “Along with a home fire escape plan, they are both essential in saving lives.”
With Halloween just a week away, follow these tips to ensure your trick-or-treaters have a fun and safe holiday.
- Choose costumes and decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks and flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
- Keep flammable materials such as hay bales, corn stalks and paper decorations away from heat and flame sources, like candles, light bulbs and heaters.
- Keep exits clear of decorations and props so nothing blocks escape routes and have working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan.
- Use battery-operated candles in jack-o-lanterns and when decorating pathways and yards.
- Set a reminder to blow out any candles and unplug lights at the end of the evening.
- Talk to your teens who may be attending parties and haunted houses to look for the exits and have a way out in case of an emergency.
- Remind kids to walk; don’t run.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. Don’t walk through neighbors’ yards, as there may be a hazard you can’t see.
- If there are no sidewalks along your street, walk on the road facing traffic as far to left as possible.
- Always stop and look before you cross the street, and cross at corners using signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Make eye contact and wave to drivers before crossing in front of them.
Trick or Treat Safely
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit, stick to a pre-planned route and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Watch out for pedestrians when turning at intersections. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
For more tips on how to keep kids safe on Halloween and throughout the year, visit safekids.org.