Many Halloween parties and activities are planned for this week, in addition to thousands of trick-or-treaters roaming the streets on Thursday night. With the increase in activity for the holiday, Kosair Children's Hospital is reminding everyone to be safe and aware of their surroundings this Halloween season.
Erika Janes, R.N. is a child advocate with Kosair Children's Hospital and coordinator Safe Kids Louisville. She says as it gets dark earlier in the evening, it is important to be aware of what is happening around you Additionally, rain and potentially severe storms are in the forecast for this Halloween. Take extra caution when driving or participating in outdoor activities.
· Plan for the weather. Wear waterproof clothing, carry an umbrella, and walk slowly as streets and sidewalks may be slick. If storms are severe, avoid outside activities.
· If there is lightning or thunder, stay indoors. Do not resume outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.
· If caught outside in lightning, seek shelter immediately. Avoid water, high ground, large open areas, isolated trees, and metal objects. Have a plan for shelter ready before heading outdoors.
· Masks vs. Makeup: A lot of the boys costumes now have masks. Masks can limit visibility. Especially with younger children, makeup is a much safer choice.
· Shoes - running shoes offer good support and traction, but fancy, over-sized or girlie shoes can lead to trips or falls.
· Some costumes are extremely flammable - especially with netting. Lighters and cigarettes need to stay away from trick-or-treaters.
Trick or treating safety:
· Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
· Enter homes only with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Do not stop at dark houses, and never accept rides from strangers.
· Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
· Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
· Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups, preferably with trusted adults. Try to stay in familiar neighborhoods, with locations that can be used as shelter if necessary.
· Use a flashlight and attach reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase visibility and help drivers. Always walk and do not run from house to house.
· When driving, especially in residential areas, turn down the radio and drive slowly, as children may unexpectedly dart into the road.
· Keep candle-lit jack o' lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
· Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin if it is displayed near dry foliage or other flammable decorations.
· Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, then have an adult do the carving.
Scary Halloween facts:
· Only 1/3 of parents discuss Halloween safety with their kids
· 12 percent of parents reported that their child ages 5 or younger is permitted to trick or treat without adult supervision (Safe Kids Worldwide)
· Kids are twice as likely to be hit on Halloween than other times.
Some other points:
· Distracted walking - older teens are now half of all pedestrian deaths for teens 19 and under. While they're not supposed to be trick or treating anyway, they're often accompanying younger children.
· Distracted driving - You should never text and drive, but please take extra care on Halloween
Pedestrian safety info:
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14 worldwide. While the number of child pedestrians injured in traffic crashes is decreasing in the United States, there are still a staggering number of children hit by cars. More than 61 children are injured every day severely enough to seek medical attention and more than 500 children are killed every year. The majority of these are children ages 14 to 19. With the increased number of children having access to mobile phones and electronic devices, distraction may play a part. Add to that distracted driving and it's a recipe for injury.
Children under the age of 10 should never deal with traffic situations (crossing streets, riding bikes in the street) without an adult. At this age, the eyes and brain are not fully developed to allow proper judgment of the speed of cars in addition to their limited depth perception.
For more information on Halloween safety or other helpful topics, visit the Kosair Children's Hospital website CLICK HERE.