Dressing in costume and dancing around bonfires to ward off the unwanted spirits and preparing their harvest for winter amidst celebrations was what the Celtic people called Samhain which later transitioned into the holiday we all know and love – Halloween.
While we all love to celebrate Halloween today, we must remember to put the safety of our children first. As one of the most popular holidays for children to enjoy, there are some crucial tips to remember to ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween experience.
Let’s start with costume tips:
Choose your child’s costume wisely by looking for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.
Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder breathing ability.
Be sure to avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip your child.
Select light or bright colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, attach reflective
tape to the costume for visibility. A few strips on the back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick.
Ensure your child’s emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you’re not going to be with him/her.
Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don’t look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
Let’s make sure those treats aren’t tricks!
Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Yes, some will want to begin immediately so please be sure they are aware that waiting is part of the process.
The signs of candy that has been tampered with or could be dangerous are as follows:
An unusual appearance or discoloration
Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers
Spoiled or unwrapped items
Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.
Tell children not to accept — and, especially, not to eat–anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.
Remember, when it doubt THROW IT OUT! (If you have questions about possibly tainted candy you can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or your local police department for assistance.
While Trick-or-treating, remember the following:
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
Never cut across yards or use alleys.
Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
If you are out and about on the night these little gremlins are trick-or-treating, please remember to be extra cautious while driving
and keep your eyes peeled for children darting out from between vehicles or in odd places that aren’t crosswalks.
If you decide to stay in and offer treats to children, be sure the path to your doorway is well lit and clear of any trip hazards. Also, if you have pets, be sure they are secured in a safe place to avoid escape during this active time which may be stressful to them.
And, lastly, if you wish to enjoy some adult Halloween Festivities be sure that you too are dressed appropriately if you are walking in dark areas. If you are driving to Halloween festivities, be sure to avoid alcohol or make arrangements for a designated driver instead.
With summertime upon us, many are considering yard parties. Fun in the sun, grilling, outdoor sports, and swimming all sound grand this time of year and that’s because it is grand!
Most outdoor parties come and go without a hitch, but unfortunately accidents do happen. With that in mind, here are some simple ways to avoid accidents and host a worry free backyard bash:
- Thoroughly inspect your yard for any things that could be a danger such as wasp nests, standing water (mosquito breeding grounds),anthills, holes, trip hazards, rotting trees or limbs that could fall, rusting equipment, low hanging electrical wires, or anything you can see as a danger – particularly to small children or adults who may be under the influence. (It’s a party, there will be alcohol!) Remove the hazards, cover them or flag them with reflective materials.
- Be sure moving vehicles are away from your guests. If possible, have a pedestrian entry to your party distanced from the parking.
- Be prepared to accommodate children if your party is family friendly. There’s more to this than just saying it’s ok to bring your children because once they are there if they are not occupied they will be underfoot and more likely to have or cause accidents. Consider the age ranges and have play areas set up for little ones and some outdoor sports for the teens. Be sure there are no choking hazards with any of the toys you provide. Perhaps, ask guests in advance, what they recommend for their children or suggest their children bring their own entertainment to share.
- Food safety is key to avoiding a party gone wrong! If your outdoor fun includes grilling hamburgers, play it safe by handling raw ground beef carefully. First, be sure you keep the meat cold (40 degrees F or less) until it is cooked. Second, cook ground beef to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F so that bacteria such as E. coli are killed. Poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to at least 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking. When preparing food, never use the same dish for raw meats and foods that will not be cooked. Don’t let perishable food sit out while swimming or during other activities. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F, food is not safe to sit out longer than one hour! Keep hands and all utensils clean when preparing food. To learn more about grilling safely, check out our previous blog about Backyard Grilling Tips.
- Be responsible with alcoholic beverages. Adult beverages go hand in hand with adults partying and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a host there are certain precautions you should take to prevent any incidents caused by alcohol. First and foremost you want to make sure none of your guests get behind the wheel after heavy drinking. Of course, it’s best to prevent heavy drinking if you are able. Some easy ways to do that are;
Make food more easily available than alcohol. When your guests have a full tummy it slows the effects of alcohol and when alcohol isn’t right at the forefront of the party guests will likely drink less.
Have a bartender or someone in charge of serving the drinks so that guests won’t be able to overpour the alcohol or consume it at a faster rate.
To learn more about hosting a party with alcohol as well as being a guest who likes to consume alcohol, check out our Holiday Party Safety Blog!
- If you have a swimming pool on your property, be aware of the dangers and how you can prevent accidents. Prior to your party, make sure you have adequate anti-entrapment drain covers for your pool. During your party, have a designated adult who knows how to swim watching over swimming pool activity at all times. Do not allow people who have consumed a lot of alcohol in or close to the pool. If at all possible, have someone at your party who has been CPR/First Aid trained. Learn more about swimming pool safety not just for your party, but for year round safety on the pool safety website.
- Is your pet ready to party? Pet safety at parties is easy to overlook. Of course you want to include your pet in the festivities, but it’s important to honestly assess your pet before adding him or her to the guest list. If your pet is aggressive in any way, overly excitable, or very shy, he or she may not be a good guest at the party and may be better off at the sitters for the day. Also, consider if any of your guests have allergies to pet dander. And, lastly, consider if your beloved pet can avoid eating the wrong things at a party. With so many guests and so many plates of food surrounding, your pet may snatch a bite of something you would never give him/her under normal circumstances or your guests may think it’s fun to give him/her some of the food available. Some food that we humans enjoy is toxic to our furry friends, so be sure that if your pet is wandering around your party someone is watching over him/her carefully to be sure no dangerous food is gobbled up.
- A first aid kit is always important to have on hand in any household, but most especially when the number of people on your property is larger than usual. To learn how to build a first aid kit for you home (as well as your for your vehicle) and for other helpful first aid information visit the Healthy Essentials Website.
- Earthquakes happen! Obviously your party would be the worst time for one, but it’s always best to be prepared! If you and your quests should be outdoors in the event of an earthquake, remember to Move away from buildings, structures and utility wires. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops. When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave and go to an open space away from damaged areas. If you are trapped, do not move around just call out for help so others at the party can locate you and assist. Be prepared to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” in the likely event of aftershocks. Once safe, monitor local news reports for emergency information and instructions. To learn more about earthquake safety and preparedness, please be sure to check out our earthquake safety blog for insightful information about preparedness and safety before, during an after an earthquake.
The best way to enjoy a party is safely. Being prepared for emergencies and using preventative tactics is the easiest way to ensure a safe but great time for you and your guests.
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