Halloween safety 101: trick-or-treating
Halloween: it’s the one day of the year when kids and grownups alike can transform into anything their mischievous minds can imagine—from princesses and paupers to rock stars, wranglers, dinosaurs and divas.
A tip for enjoying the day’s treats: Parents should take some extra safety precautions, especially as kids head out for trick-or-treating, says Laura Miccile, supervisor of the Center for Childhood Safety at MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center.
“It’s dark outside. Kids are excited. They’re distracted. There’s a lot of traffic,” Miccile says. “It’s a potentially dangerous combination.”
Miccile recommends that a trusted adult accompany all children younger than age 12 who are out trick-or-treating.
“Younger kids may not be able to safely cross the street and observe other safety precautions—especially when they’re excited or distracted,” she says. “That’s because kids younger than 12 may not be able to properly judge the speed of cars and how far away they are.” Younger kids might also have trouble figuring out which direction traffic sounds are coming from—another reason they should stick with adults.
Older kids should stay in a group and carry a cell phone, Miccile says.
“Also, I see people driving around neighborhoods with their parking lights on,” she says. “They should use their full headlights—it helps them see children.”
It’s always a good idea to give each child a flashlight to carry, and to remind each one to:
â€¢ Stay on well-lit streets and in familiar neighborhoods.
â€¢ Stay with friends, never enter cars or homes for treats, and only visit homes with a welcoming light on.
â€¢ Cross streets in designated crosswalks or at a corner, use sidewalks when possible, stay off lawns, and walk—don’t run—from home to home.
“Running between parked cars is especially dangerous because kids are hard to see and drivers may be distracted,” Miccile says. And if you have to walk on the street, walk on the far edge of the road, facing traffic. That way, you can see the traffic that’s coming.