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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spooktacular Halloween safety tips

Simone Olmstead
Simone Olmstead, Alberta Health Services

Halloween can be one of the most fun and exciting days of the year. Many look forward to it and anticipate all the candy, costumes and fun. Safety rules can certainly be forgotten when children are distracted by all the thrills. It’s important for parents or guardians to think about safety when planning their children’s costumes, activities and decorations. With some quick and easy safety measures, Halloween can be a safe and happy day for everyone.


Costume Safety Tips

Choose brightly-coloured costumes to ensure your child is easily seen by motorists. For even more visibility you can put reflective tape onto their costume.

Rain, snow or cold temperatures can sometimes be an issue when trick or treating. Try to put warm, comfortable clothing under your child’s costume.

To prevent injuries, costume weapons like swords and knives should be made of flexible, soft material.

Use face paint as a substitute for masks which can interfere with your child's breathing and/or vision.

Trick or Treating

Remind your child to walk not run from house to house and to stay on the sidewalk or pathway at all times. They should always cross at crosswalks or corners and never between parked cars or other obstacles. Your child may be excited and distracted while trick or treating so it’s very important your child pause, point then proceed, before crossing the street.

Health Canada recommends that if your child is under the age of nine, they should be accompanied by an adult. If they are over nine make sure that they go with a friend or a group of friends because children who are alone are more vulnerable to bullying or injury. Another option is to plan the route before hand with your child and follow behind to keep an eye on them.

If your child is young, it is a good idea to take a backpack along, so you can empty the candy into it if their bag becomes too heavy.

Ensure that your child stays in well lit areas and only goes to houses that have their outside lights turned on.

Decorations

Instead of using a candle in your pumpkin, consider using a battery candle or a small flashlight to light up your pumpkin.

Have your child draw a design or face on the pumpkin and then have an adult carve it.

Tips for drivers

Slow down and be aware of your environment, especially in residential areas where kids will be trick or treating. Remember the faster your going the harder it is to stop quickly.

When entering or exiting a driveway please be cautious to the trick-or-treaters who may dart out unexpectedly in front of or behind your vehicle.

Some costumes may be difficult to see in the dark so remember to drive slowly and be alert to any ghosts or ghouls who may forget pedestrian safety rules. Furthermore, some costumes can limit the child’s vision and they may not see your vehicle.

www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/halloween-eng.php

Simone Olmstead is a population health promotion student at the Lethbridge Health Unit, Train Station, and can be reached at 403-388-6000 or simone.olmstead@albertahealthservices.ca


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