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A Happy Halloween Means Safety First
Date:10/27/2007

Key precautions can help to ensure your child's well-being

FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Halloween costume? Check.

Goody bag? Check.

A head full of safety tips? Safety tips?

Yes, safety tips.

Before letting your little trick-or-treater loose this Halloween, make sure he or she is armed with a checklist of "dos" and "don'ts" that will make for a safe and fun-filled night for all.

Topping the list -- be sure your child can safely navigate the neighborhood, especially once darkness has settled.

An average of four deaths among children aged 5 to 14 years occurred on Halloween between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. every year from 1975 through 1996, compared to an average of one death during those hours on any other night of the year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news this year is that Daylight Savings Time doesn't end until Nov. 4, four days after Halloween, said Dr. Seema Csukas, director of child health promotion at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. That means more light this year than in years past. But children will still need supervision when they walk from house to house, she said.

"Any little bit of light that we can get on this night when so many children are out is a plus, but that doesn't take away from the need to be safe and careful," Csukas said. She also suggested that parents talk to their children a few days before Halloween, so everyone knows the rules ahead of time.

Her recommendations for parents and children:

  • Map out the trick-or-treating route beforehand.
  • Stick to familiar neighborhoods, and no darting between parked cars.
  • When crossing streets, stay on designated crosswalks.
  • Give children flashlights or glow sticks to carry for visibility, or attach reflective tape to costumes.
  • Approach houses from well-lit driveways and s
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