Halloween is a time to put the fun in scary for kids - not just the scary in scary. Notwithstanding the apparent creepy clown fiascos of last year, many Bellingham children and their parents are busy dreaming up and putting together costumes now that the 31st is just around the corner. It's up to parents to mitigate safety risks for their kids, so here are a few tips to think about so that you can increase your chances of celebrating the rest of the year's holidays.
Distracted Driving: As if cell phones weren't enough, Halloween drivers will be faced with many more distractions. Haunted houses in front yards, and lots of interesting costumes. Any time you add distractions and moving vehicles, you increase the chance of an accident. As always, drivers please drive when you're driving, and put your phones away. Halloween brings excited kids out on the streets and you can't rely on them to be focused on traffic safety.
Be Visible: Parents, make your kids visible, even using reflective tape or giving them a flashlight or glowstick to carry. Some costumes are brightly colored or lit, and here are some ideas for some fun ones. Make sure you or another trusted adult is along to supervise, because adults are bigger and happy to carry a flashlight if the kiddos are too busy hauling their loot.
Stranger Danger: Halloween can bring out scary people regardless of their costumes. Parents, help keep your kids safe and remind them to not talk to strangers, and stay in groups with an adult present when trick or treating. Don't go into a house or haunted house without an adult present and aware of where you are.
Distracted Pedestrians: It's not just the excitement of trick-or-treating that creates distractions for kids nowadays. Cellphones are ready and willing to send that picture of a really cool costume or scary house you've got to show your friends right now. Instead, remind kids to not use a cell phone and walk at the same time, but if you really need to Snapchat that photo, step out of the way of foot and vehicle traffic and just do that thing with your phone you can't wait to do. If it's truly that important, it's important enough to focus completely on. Sidewalks are dark, fallen leaves are slippery, and no one wants to slip and fall and get hurt.
Be safe and enjoy a fun-filled Halloween!
Distracted Driving: During Halloween, drivers are faced with many distractions that include parties in front yards, decorated houses, and interesting costumes. The possibility of a car accident can increase with this high number of distractions. Parents can reduce the risk of their child being hit by a distracted driver by having their children wear a bright colored costume or reflective tape. Children should also carry a flashlight and remain with an adult while trick-or-treating.
Stranger Danger: While many scary clown injuries are the result of an accident when children run away. Halloween can be an invitation to predators and bullies. Parents can help keep people with bad intentions away from their children by reminding their little ones not to talk to strangers and to travel in groups. Although the best safety option is to trick-or-treat with an adult, groups of children are safer than a child who is alone.
Distracted Pedestrians: Many teenagers who trick-or-treat might be tempted to continue posting to social media sites or text back and forth with friends. The distraction associated with watching a cell phone screen poses a significant risk of a trip and fall or slip and fall accident for pedestrians. Young children and teenagers might fail to notice obstructions, uneven sidewalk, or approaching vehicles when distracted by their cell phone.
Dog Bites and Attacks: Many people celebrate Halloween by sitting in front of their home to dispense candy and observe the costumes. People also open and close their door frequently. These situations often result in a dog getting loose or being allowed to roam the front yard. Children should be reminded not to approach or pet an unfamiliar dog. Approximately 800,000 people per year seek medical treatment for dog bites or canine attacks with almost half (386,000) being children.