Candy is dandy, but keep the kids safe
Halloween is supposed to be a little scary, but a couple of the holiday's safety statistics are downright bloodcurdling.
With so many kids scrambling after candy, child pedestrian deaths occur four times more frequently on Halloween than on other nights, reports Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. Even scarier, traffic-related walking deaths are generally twice as high in cities, the group says.
With free candy bars at stake, kids dart between parked cars and across streets in baggy costumes and with vision limited by masks.
"Kids are no smarter on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year, maybe less so," said Dr. Brian Johnston, head of pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center.
Candle-lit pumpkins scattered on steps, porches and walkways only add to the danger.
Johnston recalls one costumed princess who wound up at Harborview after her skirt caught fire from a lit pumpkin.
The princess is now fine, but she spent months in the hospital recovering from third-degree burns.
Despite the risks, there is no need to cancel Halloween.
Across the country, the total number of Halloween evening pedestrian deaths among kids ages 5 to 14 is typically four, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control. "We might see a few more injuries. It's not like Fourth of July," said Dr. Eileen Klein at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. "It's all about preventing those problems."
The combination of the end of daylight-saving time and Seattle's typically heavy fall cloud cover means city streets get dark early this time of year.
So, choose bright, flame-retardant costumes, or add reflective tape, tags or badges, and give everyone a flashlight, experts recommend.
Doctors stress that parents should accompany kids 12 or younger on their trick-or-treating rounds. It is also a good idea to pin names, addresses and phone numbers onto costumes.
"A lot of parents who wouldn't allow their kids to walk to school during the day allow them to go trick-or-treating," Johnston said.
Check the floppy feet, the lion tails and witch's capes to ensure your children won't trip on their costumes, and make sure masks don't hinder their vision or hearing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests.
Better yet, paint your child's face instead of putting on a mask.
Adults can help keep kids safe by driving slowly and by placing lit jack-o'-lanterns far from doors and walkways. They also should create clear pathsto their doors
Also, remind your kids they shouldn't eat anything until they get home.
Source: Seattle Post Intelligencer