Halloween is a fun night for people of all ages. Decorations, costumes, and candy…what’s not to love? Maybe it’s the car wrecks and house fires!
According to the National Safety Council, October is the second highest monthly rate of motor vehicle accidents in the United States . The U.S. Fire Administration reports more than 10,000 fires occur between October 30 and November 1 alone . What is it about this month that makes us forget about safety?
Halloween may have unique safety concerns, but unique does not mean unpreventable. Let’s keep our friends and family safe this Halloween by driving, decorating, and celebrating safely.
Driving on Halloween
For children, the likelihood of being hit by a car and killed doubles on Halloween night ! Pedestrian safety is important every day of the year, but with Halloween right around the corner, let’s take a moment to discuss what you can do to prevent accidents from happening on Halloween night.
Halloween night means more children are crossing the road, going from one house to another, and collecting candy. Keep trick-or-treating safe and fun by reducing your speed and staying aware of children and adults walking where they normally would not.
When driving on Halloween night, remember to :
- Enter and exit driveways slowly.
- Stop for pedestrians crossing the road.
- Drive with your lights on.
- Put away your phone so your full attention is on the road.
- Observe the speed limit.
Whether you’re coming home late from work, going to the grocery store, or driving to a friend’s house, use extra caution and drive safely. Trick-or-treaters are everywhere.
Trick-or-treating is every child’s favorite Halloween activity; can you blame them? Costume shopping and eating candy with friends sounds like so much fun! As a parent or guardian, you may not love the idea of a Halloween induced sugar rush, but that’s not always avoidable. However, there are some other steps you can take to ensure your child stays safe and has fun trick-or-treating .
- A parent or other responsible adult should accompany young children going trick-or-treating.
- If you have older children who are trick-or-treating, make sure they have a way to contact you if necessary. Remind them to only go on familiar routes and to stay in groups.
- Dark costumes mean that your children are invisible to drivers after the sun sets. Add reflective tape to their costumes to increase their visibility.
- Before they head out, agree on a time when your kids will come home.
With Halloween comes the fun of decorations! But before you start decking your house out for the holiday, think about potential safety hazards.
One hazard that may slip your mind is a potential fire. People don’t typically associate Halloween with fire safety, but think of the open flames you may use to decorate around your house. Jack-o-lanterns, candles, dry leaves and even paper decorations can pose potentially serious fire risks.
A few simple changes in how you decorate can help prevent a fire from starting :
- Use an LED or battery-operated candle inside jack-o-lanterns. It gives the same effect as a candle but removes the hazard!
- Keep paper and draping decorations away from open flames. Hanging from the ceiling, a tablecloth ghost may look very spooky, but if it is placed too close to a burning flame, you’ll have a scarier problem on your hands! Paper is incredibly flammable, so keep all these decorations separate as well. If you need a light source, use light bulbs or LEDs but don’t let them get too hot!
- Do not overload outlets. Electrically powered decorations make for great spooky effects, but they expose you to serious electrical hazards. Lookout for wires with tears, breaks, or frayed ends.
- Do not create chains of extension cords. These can overload your electrical outlets and create fire hazards. For more information on electrical safety, visit our Safety Topics blog!
- Lastly, do not block any exits, in case there is a fire. If you are having a Halloween get-together, make sure guests are able to easily navigate out of rooms. Remove any tripping hazards from the ground as these pose hazards of their own.
Safe decorating does not have to mean boring decorating. You can achieve the same spooky, scary look you want with safe decorations!
Fall Carnival Safety
Halloween happens to fall in the greatest season of the year: Fall. Fall comes with changing colors, great weather, and holiday spirit. Fall is also a great time to visit county fairs and town carnivals.
When you think of county fairs, you may imagine exciting rides, good food, and fun activities for the whole family. However, just earlier this month, a young child was killed after being ejected from an amusement ride in New Jersey.
While you have no control over amusement ride malfunctions, there are still some things you can do to stay safe :
- Before getting on a ride, check the height and weight requirements. If you or your children do not meet these requirements, do not get on the ride.
- Ensure ride harnesses and belts are secured. If they feel loose, notify a ride attendant.
- If you notice a ride in need of maintenance, such as excessive rust, broken harnesses, or frayed belts, notify county fair officials. You can save someone from a serious injury.
Some other safety tips to keep in mind are:
- Make sure all children have their parent or guardian’s phone number memorized. In case you get separated or someone loses their cell phone, they still have a way to contact you. If a young child is lost, notify local authorities immediately. Remind young children that it is okay to find a police officer if they are lost.
- If you chose to split up once you reach the fair or festival, agree on a time and place to meet.
- Before digging in to those delicious, fried, county fair snacks, wash your hands! You never know what germs you may encounter going from ride to ride and tent to tent.
Similar to county fairs, pumpkin patches and other harvest festivals are a fun place for family activities. Many times, these events are located at local farms so there are some things you must keep in mind .
- When getting ready to head out to a pumpkin patch or festival, make sure you and your family wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. Pumpkin patches require a lot of walking and are not the places for sandals or heels.
- If you decide to interact with the animals on the farm, wash your hands after. Consider bringing hand sanitizer with you as bathrooms are not always available.
- If you are bobbing for apples, make sure the water is sanitary. Recently, three people died after contracting Legionnaire’s from contaminated hot tub water at an event in Asheville, NC.
- As you walk through the pumpkin patch, keep an eye out for tripping hazards on the ground. Vines, cornstalks, or a rogue pumpkin can cause serious injury.
Whichever activity you embark on during this fall season, remember to stay safe. A fun night of trick-or-treating should never end with a trip to the emergency room and a trip to the county fair should not mean coming in contact with a rare, but deadly, disease.
Halloween is meant for fun and adventure. Let’s keep this holiday scary, spooky, and safe!
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