While families get ready for their Halloween spooks, it is important to remember a scary fact – children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car or killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.
Vehicle accidents are not the only risk on Halloween, but tips from several organizations can prepare parents to keep their kids safe.
“I would like to caution drivers to be on alert during the holiday and to look out for children who may not be paying attention. We will have an increased police presence to ensure everybody is safe,” HPD Lt. Jim Barnes said. “Parents should consider fastening reflective tape to costumes and bags to ensure drivers can see them and carry a flashlight or glow stick.”
The Center for Disease Control recommends parents accompany children under 12-years-old while trick-or-treating and walk in groups. Children should also carry cell phones if trick-or-treating alone, but ensure they are paying attention at all times.
“It is important to remind your children to never enter a stranger's home,” Barnes added. “Parents should accompany their children while trick-or-treating and stick to neighborhoods and homes they are familiar with.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than half of the estimated 4,500 Halloween-related injuries in 2018 involved pumpkin carving, with other injuries resulting from trips and falls. In order to prevent these injuries, parents should remind their children to use sidewalks, look both ways before crossing the street and make eye contact with drivers.
“I recommended that children refrain from wearing any masks that may obstruct their vision and wear costumes that they will not trip on,” Barnes said. “Parents should also ensure that children avoid candles and wear flame-resistant costumes.”
Everybody’s favorite part of Halloween is the candy, which can present more challenges for parents. Parents should examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them, discourage children from eating candy until it has been examined and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
“It is very important for families to inspect their children’s candy and ensure they are wrapped, have no holes and are not broken,” Barnes added. “If there are any issues with the candy, they can contact us at the police department.”
Many popular Halloween candies contain some of the most common allergens, such as peanuts or tree nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, so always read the ingredient label on any treat your child receives. Also, ‘fun size’ or miniature candies may have different ingredients or be made on different equipment than the regular size candies, meaning that brands your child previously ate without problems could cause a reaction.
“Allergies are an increasing problem for children and parents should do their research and show caution,” Barnes said. “A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, throw it out.”
Rain is expected to continue in Huntsville this morning, so roads may be wet through the rest of the day. Children should refrain from running from house to house to avoid injuries. Temperatures are also expected to drop into the 30’s and families may want to bundle their children up.
“Because the roads may be slick and many children will be out and about, drivers need to be patient and very cautious. Traffic is likely so plan accordingly,” Barnes added. “We hope everybody has a fun time and they take precautions to stay safe.”
Attending a fall festival celebration can also be a safe way for a kid to go trick-or-treating. Some events this evening include:
Walker County Fair Association Halloween Carnival — from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. — at the Walker County fairgrounds.
University Heights Baptist Church fall festival — from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. — at 2400 Sycamore Ave.
New Waverly First Baptist Church fall festival — from 6 p.m - 8 p.m. — at 460 Fisher St.
Faith Family Church fall festival — 6 p.m — at 2407 Sam Houston Ave.