With an estimated 40 million trick-or-treaters between the age of 5 and 14 hitting the streets for Halloween on Monday, safety is on many people’s minds.
In Alabama, police warned parents to be on the lookout for gummy bears and similar types of Halloween candy not in their factory wrapping as these goodies mask the taste of vodka and and kids don't realize they are ingesting alcohol until it's too late, said Capt. Hal Taylor of Alabama’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Drivers are also warned to stay off the phone, keep speeds slow and not pass stopped vehicles that may be dropping off children. The risk of a child being hit by a car is roughly four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For their part, children are recommended to look in all directions before crossing a street and to carry flashlights and glow sticks as well as wear reflective tape on their costumes. Parents are also advised to accompany young trick-or-treaters and never let children into a stranger’s house alone.
“Children should be out having fun and spending time with family and friends,” said Dr. Sandra Schneider with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “They should not have to spend Halloween in the ER because of some injury that could have been easily prevented.”
Here are some more useful tips from ACEP to help everyone have a safe and fun Halloween:
• Make sure your child stays on the sidewalks as much as possible (off streets) and obeys all traffic signals.
• Discuss the importance of staying together in a group. Require at least one adult to serve as chaperone during trick-or-treat gatherings.
• Make sure your child knows the potential dangers from strangers. Make sure they know never to accept rides from strangers or visit unfamiliar homes or areas.
• Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes.
• Avoid costumes that obstruct the child’s sight or vision.
• Avoid masks if possible. If your child must wear one, make sure it is well ventilated.
• Make sure costume fabric, wigs and beards area made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
• Keep candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns away from children so they can’t get burned or set on fire.
• Make sure costumes are visible at night: avoid dark colors. Add reflective tape to costumes so your child is more visible to motor vehicles.
• Make sure you see all of the candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.
• Take a flashlight while trick-or-treating as visibility decreases long before it gets really dark.
• Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects. Make sure they are made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.