TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Poison Center, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal are hoping all Kansans have a fun and safe Halloween.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for children, but it is also a time when pedestrian accidents, falls, burns, fires, and poisoning are a reality. On Halloween, fatal pedestrian/vehicle accidents involving children significantly increase, according to Safe Kids.
While children need to take precautions, the organization is also warning motorists to slow down and be extra alert, especially in neighborhoods. Children under 12 should not be trick-or-treating without an adult or a responsible teenager.
Safe Kids says you should review safety rules with your children before they go out. They should also have a cell phone with them to contact you in emergencies.
“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,” says Cherie Sage with Safe Kids Kansas. “Don’t be distracted from hazards because you are texting or talking on the phone.”
Parents are reminded to check all of their children’s candy, making sure they only eat treats that are in their original, unopened wrappers. It’s also a time when young children may go looking for treats and find medicine instead.
Be sure to keep all medicine locked up and out of reach. Safe Kids recommends you also have the Poison Help Line programmed into your phone: 800-222-1222.
Nearly half of house fires happen because a decoration was placed too close to a heat source, like a candle, according to the National Fire Protection Association. They recommend using battery-powered candles or lights and making sure you have working smoke detectors on each level and inside and outside every bedroom of your home.
Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Poison Center, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal offer these additional tips:
- 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 non-toxic 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.
- 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.
- If using dry ice, make sure you use gloves or tongs when handling it and do not put it in cups where it could be swallowed and cause severe burns.
- Stick to 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 the left as possible.
- Always stop and look before you cross the street, and cross at corners using signals and crosswalks whenever possible. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up, and teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Put electronic devices away and pay attention to avoid hazards.
- 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 about 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 child safety information, visit safekidskansas.org.