Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Health Department Offers Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is one of the most thrilling nights of the year for children, and also one of the most dangerous. As kids embark on their annual night of trick-or-treating, the potential for unintentional injury dramatically increases. In fact, children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. Burns and falls among children also increase during Halloween.

"Children are often distracted by the excitement of the night and the fun of trick-or-treating, and may not think about their safety," said Serifatu Walton, injury prevention coordinator for the Marion County Health Department and a member of Safe Kids Indianapolis.

As parents and children take time to construct costumes and decorations, the Marion County Health Department and Safe Kids Indianapolis recommend the following:

  • Adults should accompany children under age 12 on their trick-or-treat rounds.
  • It is a good idea to feed children ahead of time. This way, they will be less likely to want candy from their bags during the trip, giving adults a chance to inspect treats.
  • Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Set a time for older children to return home.
  • Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated.
  • Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retroreflective tape and stickers.
  • Use costumes that are light or bright enough to make children more visible at night.
  • Teach children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating.
  • Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing the street and to continue looking both ways as they cross. Tell them to cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Teach them never to dart out into a street or cross between parked cars.
  • Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
  • Give trick-or-treaters flashlights.
  • Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
  • Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
  • Look for "flame resistant" labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
  • Use fire resistant material when making costumes.

The health department suggests parents and children consider one of the many indoor Halloween events sponsored by local businesses and community groups as a safe alternative to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating.

For further information, please contact Safe Kids Indianapolis at (317) 221-3145.

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