October 23, 1998 | By: Ellen Brightwell

Ghosts and goblins aren't the only menace to children roaming neighborhoods in search of treats this Halloween. An assortment of potential safety hazards awaits them as well.

To safeguard children, Larry Piercy offers tips to keep Halloween injury-free. Piercy is a safety and health Extension specialist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Children's excitement during Halloween, plus the fact that they are wearing costumes and may be wandering through dark, unfamiliar areas, can increase the risk of a fall.

Use costumes that are short enough to keep a child from tripping.

Since a loose-fitting mask can obstruct vision, use face paint or cosmetics instead. If the child wears a mask, cut eye holes large enough to supply full vision.

Be sure a mask fits securely. Also attach hats well to prevent their slipping over the child's eyes.

Dress children in shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Loose-fitting shoes such as adults' high heels or work boots aren't safe.

Give children flashlights to help them see clearly and become more visible to others.

Warn children to stay on sidewalks. Cutting across yards could cause them to trip over lawn ornaments or run into clotheslines that aren't visible in the dark.

Clear lawns of ladders, hoses, lawn tools or other items that could cause accidents.

Be sure any props children carry, such as swords and brooms, are soft and flexible. Rigid items could injure children if they fall.

To make children more visible in the dark, decorate their costumes and trick-or-treat bags with reflective tape.

Remind children to stop and look for approaching traffic at all corners, driveways and alleys. Tell them to cross streets at corners and crosswalks. Warn them not to dart between cars. In the absence of sidewalks, remind children to walk facing traffic.

Turn on porch and outside lights to assist Halloween visitors. Since some people prefer not to participate in Halloween, advise children to avoid houses or apartments that have dark porches or windows.

To reduce the risk of burns, choose costumes and accessories with "flame resistant" labels. Select fire-resistant materials for homemade costumes.

Use battery-powered lights, rather than candles, to decorate yards and inside the home.

Adults should accompany young children. Teach them that tricks shouldn't be a part of the Halloween tradition.

Encourage children not to eat treats until they're checked to be sure they haven't been tampered with and have a secure seal. Cut fruit open before it's eaten. If a treat is questionable, throw it away, or take it to a local hospital that x-rays Halloween goodies.

Contact: 

Writer: Ellen Brightwell
(606) 257-1376

Source: Larry Piercy
(606) 257-3000, Ext. 107