It’s that time of year again, when ghosts and ghouls wander the sidewalks and start knocking on doors. But with Halloween comes added hazards that parents, neighbors and trick-or-treaters in Naval District Washington can prevent with a little effort.
“Halloween is a fun time for everyone, but with children outside after dark going house-to-house, everyone should be more vigilant to avoid any potential dangers,” said Edward Lewis, Naval Support Activity Washington (NSAW) safety and occupational health specialist. “Motorists, parents and kids all need to do their part to make sure everyone has a safe Halloween.”
Lewis said that parents can do many things prior to Halloween to ensure their trick-or-treaters are safe from the start. He advises working with children to put their costume together, making sure they won’t trip while walking in it, to only use flame-retardant materials when making a costume, and to use makeup instead of masks to ensure the child has a full range of vision. He also advises that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult, and older children trick-or-treat in a group for safety.
“Parents should make sure their trick-or-treater can be well seen at night in their costume, wearing or carrying some sort of reflective material and using a flashlight,” said Lewis. “It’s also a good idea to get to know the neighbors where your child will be trick-or-treating. Whether accompanied by an adult or not, this will allow children and parents alike to get to know who they’ll be meeting Halloween night.”
Parents should also remind their children to avoid houses that are not lit, and to never accept rides from strangers, said Lewis.
When trick-or-treating, children should stick to sidewalks and crosswalks, making sure to look for traffic before crossing the road, and to always follow posted signs such as cross walk indicators, said Lewis. Motorists need to be extra vigilant Halloween night, especially in residential areas.
Lewis advises parents to remind their children not to eat any candy that isn’t factory-wrapped, and to avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
“It’s best if kids wait until they get home and have a parent or guardian inspect their candy to make sure it’s safe before they eat it,” said Lewis. “Make sure all candy is properly factory-wrapped; if the wrapper is torn or missing, throw that piece of candy away.”
Fire safety is also important due to jack-o-lanterns and other popular Halloween luminaries.
“It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern,” said George Revoir Jr., Naval Support Activity Washington Safety Installation Program Director. “If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorstops, walkways, and yards. An ounce of precaution equals a pound of cure.”
Following these rules can help to make Halloween night a fun, and safe, experience for everyone involved.
For more tips on Halloween safety, visit http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.
For more information on events in NDW, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.