Accidents on Halloween can spoil the fun — keep everyone all smiles this Halloween (and avoid an ugly personal injury suit) by watching out for typical Halloween safety hazards.
“Halloween is a fun night for children of all ages but unfortunately accidents do occur,” says Chicago personal injury attorney Tiffany Ritchie. “Preparing your children and your home in advance by following these safety tips will reserve your Halloween night for candy corn eating and jack-o-lantern dreaming.”
Watch Your Kids
Whether you’re going out with your children at night or not (accompanying them is highly recommended), make sure they are carrying flashlights or glow sticks. Also, teach kids to obey traffic signals and signs, as well as to walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic, although kids should always stay on sidewalks when possible. The KidSafe Foundation strongly advises going out with your kids on Halloween (your kids’ safety is more important than you staying home to hand out candy), but if you do send kids out, make sure they are always in a group and are using the buddy system. Kids should be instructed to only visit homes of people you know, and to check in with you at designated times; kids should not go into anyone’s home or stop to talk to anyone driving a car.
Get Costume-Safety Savvy
By federal law, all costumes and accessories sold in retail stores should be flame resistant. If you are making your child’s costume, stick to inherently flame-resistant fabrics like nylon on polyester. The CPSC says the number-one factor putting kids in the hospital on Halloween involves injuries sustained from falling. Try to avoid costumes with long, billowing parts that could get caught on something; even long sleeves, wings, or capes could be a hazard when candles are nearby, so try to keep costumes as trim as possible. Kids should wear reflective clothing or tape to be seen easily by cars if going out after dark. Avoid masks, or at least make sure kids remove them when crossing the street (and cut bigger eye holes if necessary). Face paint is always safer than a mask, but test for allergic reactions first.
Keep an Eye on the Food
Well-fed kids will be less tempted to dive into their treasures before getting home, so feed them a decent dinner before they’re out the door; always require kids to let you inspect their treats to check for tampering before they eat anything. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises parents not to allow kids to eat any Halloween goodies that aren’t commercially wrapped. Also, be wary of ciders (make sure they’re pasteurized), cheese platters (keep all foods chilled when possible), and other Halloween party fare. Who knows who has been bobbing for those apples, anyway?
Keep Your Home Safe
Avoid kids getting injured on your lawn or porch by keeping candles out of your decor. Make sure icy sidewalks around your house are shoveled and salted, and that any obstructions that could trip someone — garden hoses, for instance — are removed, as well as ladders or other dangers. Halloween is a very good night to keep your dog on a tight leash. Also, resist the temptation to hand out hand-made treats, which could spoil or simply leave you to be blamed for a stomachache. Stick to store-bought, pre-packaged, recently-purchased treats. Above all, keep alcohol out of parties to avoid liability for DUI or underage drinking.
This article features Chicago personal injury attorney Tiffany Ritchie. Visit Tiffany’s Avvo Profile to learn more about her experience and how she has helped others with their legal issues.