As October begins to wind to a close, families in Illinois are preparing for Halloween celebrations at schools and in their neighborhoods. Regardless of how you plan to celebrate, Halloween offers the potential of a great night with a lot of fun. Yet with so many people on the streets and with kids excited by the promise of trick-or-treating, some often heeded safety rules may fall by the wayside, leaving children at risk of an accident.
Perhaps the most common threat facing children during Halloween is that presented by cars and vans as trick-or-treating is in full force. Young kids may forget to look both ways before crossing a street and may place themselves in the path of an oncoming vehicle, leaving it up to the driver to avoid an accident. The best thing to do is to prevent an accident before it occurs by reminding your children of how to be safe on Halloween and for adults to remember the inherent dangers present by driving in the dark.
Other safety dangers should be addressed in addition to traffic concerns. For example, the Centers for Disease Control seeks to remind parents that candy should always be inspected by an adult before a child is allowed to eat it so that the adult can verify nothing has been tampered with. Additionally, children should always trick-or-treat in groups to reduce the risk of any child losing his or her way though, of course, adult supervision is always best.
One of the easiest safety concerns to address is to make sure your child’s costume does not pose a danger to them. Costumes should not obstruct a child’s ability to see or to walk safely and it should include reflective material when possible. If your child’s costume is already finished and it is not reflective, you may consider sending your child outside with a flashlight so that your child can see where he or she is going and so that oncoming traffic is aware that a pedestrian is in the area.
A more recent development in Halloween safety has been to discourage kids and adults alike from wearing non-prescription contact lenses with their costumes. Often, these lenses make a normal eye appear blacked out, like a cat’s eye, like a magic 8 ball, or even like the colors of your favorite NFL team. While the popularity of these lenses increases drastically every year, the dangers associated with them often go ignored. Many of these lenses do not meet the quality guidelines required by the FDA and some have been linked with serious and permanent injuries, including blindness. Authorities agree that it is better to skip the decorative lenses altogether and to avoid these risks of injuries.