There are nearly 4 million children of prime trick-or-treating age in Canada. Keeping them safe as they do so is the responsibility of all parents and caregivers.
On any other night of the year, running from one stranger’s door to another, dressed in dark costumes, and asking for candy, would be considered dangerous. And while Halloween can be a fun-filled night for kids of all ages, the potential for scary situations is still higher than any average evening.
To keep you and your children safe this Halloween, follow these simple yet effective Halloween season safety tips.
By October 31, the sun sets by 6 pm in Ontario. That means your children will likely do most of their trick-or-treating in darkness.
To keep them safe as they move around the streets, make sure that they’re visible. That’s as easy as putting reflective tape or stickers on candy bags or costumes, where the light from a car’s headlights can bounce from effectively. You can also equip yourself and your children with glowsticks or flashlights, ensuring you can see and be seen.
A safe costume is key to reducing the risk of slips and falls or pedestrian accidents. But what is a safe costume, exactly?
Ensure that your child can see their surroundings. Try to use face paint in place of masks that may obstruct the vision of their periphery, their feet, the sidewalk, or the people around them. Minimize tripping hazards by ensuring that the costume fits properly, your child can walk freely, and that there are no parts dragging on the ground.
You can also prevent injury by putting the right footwear on your kids. Running shoes or sneakers are more comfortable to walk in for long periods of time and they also provide proper support to the feet and legs.
Supervise Children Under 12 Years of Age
Children under the age of 12 should never be out trick-or-treating alone. Going from door to door, some of whom are strangers, requires adult supervision. You can supervise from the sidewalk if it’s close enough to see and hear the interaction they’re having at the door, otherwise, you should be accompanying them all the way to the door.
Remember that supervising means you’re watching what’s going on and you’re aware of your surroundings. Put your phone away for the evening after you’ve taken all the photos you need to.
Children Over 12 Should Walk in Groups
Children over 12 may be mature enough to trick-or-treat without their parents or guardians watching their every move. If that’s the case, those children should always be travelling in groups. They should be instructed to stick to familiar areas and well-lit streets. You may also consider equipping them with a fully charged cellphone in case there’s any emergency they need to contact home for.
Navigating the Streets Safely
Walking around the streets while it’s dark poses the risk of pedestrian accidents. To reduce that risk, know how to walk around safely.
Always cross the streets at street corners and stop signs. Obey the traffic signals on larger streets and remember to always look both ways before crossing.
Where possible, stick to sidewalks. But if you must travel on streets without sidewalks, always walk facing traffic and always carry flashlights or something that makes you visible to drivers.
Although children are understandably excited about Halloween, keep them close to you and don’t let them run around. Running in costume increases the chance that they trip and fall, it also makes it harder for you to keep them under control while crossing and walking near cars and other vehicles.
Driving with Caution
Even if you’re not taking any children out this Halloween, you still have a part to play in safety. If you’ll be operating a motor vehicle on Halloween night, you need to drive with even more caution than usual, especially between the hours of 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm when most kids are out trick-or-treating.
Drive slowly in residential neighbourhoods and be on alert – excited children move in unpredictable ways. Be on the lookout at intersections and stop signs, enter and exit driveways and alleys with care, and keep an eye on medians and curbs where children may be standing.
More Tips for All Seasons
Halloween is a night that everybody can enjoy if it’s done with safety in mind. Follow the above Halloween season safety tips to keep you and your children safe while still having all the fun you can.
And remember that every season carries its own potential risks. Follow the Sharma Law blog for the latest tips and tricks to reduce the potential for injury and accidents all year round.