Dr.Joe’s Tips on How to Stay Safe and Prevent Halloween Mishaps
Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of the year – just take a look at my decked-out house, and you’ll understand my enthusiasm. Now that I have my own little trick-or-treaters, ensuring their safety is a top priority. Here’s a modernized list of tips to keep your children safe this Halloween and hopefully avoid any ‘boo boos’ along the way.
If you’re driving on Halloween night
- Turn on Your Headlights: Whether it’s dusk or not, make sure your headlights are on.
- Watch for Hidden Kids: Keep an eye out for children darting out from between parked cars.
- Be Cautious Around Walkers: Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs – don’t assume they see you.
- Mind Driveways and Alleys: Enter and exit driveways and alleys with extra care.
- Beware of Dark Clothing: In the evening, watch out for children dressed in dark clothing.
For parents of trick-or-treaters, here’s a plan
- Supervision is Key: Ensure an adult or older responsible youth supervises children under age 12.
- Plan the Route: Discuss the trick-or-treat route in advance and know the names of older children’s companions.
- Stick to Familiar Areas: Instruct your children to stick to familiar areas and established routes.
- Well-Lit Stops: Teach your children to only stop at well-lit houses or apartment buildings and never enter a stranger’s home.
- Set a Return Time: Establish a return time for your youngsters.
- Hold Off on Treats: Advise your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
- Emergency Contact: Pin a slip of paper with your child’s name, address, and phone number inside a pocket in case they get separated from the group.
Consider these costume safety tips
- Fire-Resistant Material: Ensure costumes are made of fire-retardant materials.
- Room for Warmth: Costumes should be loose enough to wear warm clothes underneath.
- Clear Vision: Masks should have eye holes that provide a good field of vision.
- Avoid Tripping Hazards: Make sure costumes aren’t too long to prevent tripping (falls are a leading cause of Halloween injuries).
- Visibility: If children will be out after dark, opt for light-colored costumes and use reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Safe Accessories: Costume accessories like knives or swords should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Avoid sharp objects.
- Flashlights: Encourage children to carry flashlights to see and be seen better.
Ensure kids understand and follow these rules
- Stay Out of Strangers’ Homes: Never enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
- Walk, Don’t Run: Walk from house to house, avoiding uneven terrain and unseen objects that could cause tripping.
- Sidewalk Safety: Use sidewalks when available, and if none are present, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
Lastly, use common sense with treats
- Pre-Treat Meal: Give children an early meal before they head out to reduce snacking while trick-or-treating.
- Inspect Treats: Insist that treats are brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
- Safe Handling: Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
- When in Doubt, Toss It: If you have any doubts about a treat’s safety, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard it.
So there you have it – stay safe, have a blast, and Happy Halloween!
Dr. Joseph Guettler is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, as well as surgery of the knee, shoulder, and elbow. His office is located in Bingham Farms, MI. Visit www.miorthosurgeons.com for more information on Dr. Guettler and his practice, Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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