Ghosts and goblins may be scary, but the thought of Halloween injuries to trick-or-treaters is even more frightening.
Just like trick-or-treating children, Halloween's hidden dangers also come in disguise. The major dangers don't come from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.
According to a recent study that looked at holiday-related pediatric emergency room visits between 1997 and 2006, Halloween is among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits. The single most common Halloween injury was finger/hand injuries, with the majority of those being cuts and broken bones.
That's the bad news. The good news is most Halloween accidents are easily preventable. With a little thought and preparation, you can make Halloween safety as easy as pie ... pumpkin pie, that is.
So, without further ado, here are five tips to keep your little monsters safe and healthy this year while ensuring everybody still has some frightful fun ...
No. 5: Make sure your own house is in order
Things can get more than a little hectic for parents as Halloween approaches. There are costumes to be bought or made, pumpkins to be procured and carved, candy to be purchased and so much more to be done.
Amid all the worrying about your own children, it can be too easy to forget about all the other kids who will be traipsing through your yard.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests clearing the porch and front yard of anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Also, make sure all walking areas are well lit and that jack-o'-lanterns are placed away from stairways and landings.
It's equally important to check any decoration lights for safety and be sure not to overload extension cords. Of all the hair-raising experiences you could wish for on Halloween, fighting an electrical fire is not one of them.
Lastly, if you have pets, make sure they are restrained on Halloween so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
No. 4: Be extra careful when driving
Halloween safety isn't just for the trick-or-treaters, it's also important for motorists.
Whether you're chauffeuring your kids on a candy quest or just driving home from work, the main thing to remember is to drive slowly through neighborhoods
.Be especially careful when exiting driveways and alleyways and always be on the lookout for kids darting out from between cars. According to the National Safety Council, most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
If you're driving costumed kids around, make sure they exit the vehicle on the curb side, not on the side facing traffic. Similarly, avoid passing or going around stopped vehicles yourself, as they may be dropping off kids too.
And perhaps the most important tip: Park your mobile devices. Being safe on the roads for Halloween can be tough enough without calling, texting or surfing while driving.
No. 3: Supervise younger kids
Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.
You should make sure to bring along at least one flashlight for yourself. If your kids balk at carrying their own flashlight, wearable glow lights are a cool, fashionable option they're more likely to embrace.
As you go door-to-door, be sure to stick close by your kids. Halloween can be an excitable night for even the safest kid, so make sure they know to not dart between cars and to always cross at intersections.
However, if you want to make Halloween even safer, remove traffic and the street from the equation. Consider taking your kids to a local mall or community center for an indoor event or throw your own neighborhood party, complete with decorations, games, a costume contest and, of course, plenty of candy.