Watch for cars!
What is the biggest risk to kids on Halloween night? It’s not an overdose of sugar, or the possibility of tainted treats. It’s the traffic.
The Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety says child pedestrian accidents increase 400% on Halloween, compared to an average day. The greatest number of accidents occur between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm.
The guide gives the following tips for kids and parents:
- Use crosswalks.
- Stay alert to your surroundings—that means put the phone away and keep your eyes up!
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
- Walk, don’t run.
My local pediatrician/blogger, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, concurs and gives some additional traffic safety tips. Dr. Swanson recommends avoiding masks that make seeing difficult, and attaching LED lights, glow sticks, or reflectors to costumes.
Beware novelty makeup
Another important safety tip Dr. Swanson had was to use non-toxic face paints or makeup.
In the past, face paints imported from China have been found to contain high levels of lead and other heavy metals, such as arsenic and mercury. Lead is absorbed through the skin, resulting in lead poisoning. Even low levels of lead can be dangerous to young children.
I’ve noticed that the cheaper face paints or costume makeup that you buy at second hand stores, a common source for Halloween costumes, is made in China. Beware.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a good webpage devoted to helping you find safe face paints for Halloween: Novelty Makeup
More Halloween Safety Tips
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also has a good webpage about Halloween safety, and in addition to the above advises:
- Use flame resistant costumes and wigs.
- Make sure any sword or stick used with a costume is not too long or sharp.
- Don’t use decorative contact lenses.
- Don’t let small children carve pumpkins—let them paint pumpkins, instead.
- Use glow sticks rather than candles inside pumpkins.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 and what to do in case they become lost.
The AAP has lots more safety tips, as well as advice for dealing with all that candy loot. Check it out and stay safe this Halloween!