While Halloween is a holiday, second only to Christmas, to which kids (and kids at heart alike) look forward to, it is also rife with opportunities for personal injury. From decorations to costumes to food safety, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. For many adults, some of the most fun to be had comes from adorning their homes with decorations. While waxing sentimental about your childhood as you erect life-size Ghostbusters on your front lawn, it is also important to keep in mind the safety of the children (and parents) who will soon be knocking at your door.
Although darkness is an integral part of Halloween, it also obscures vision and provides cover to latent dangers. For that very reason, make sure children wear reflexive tape or carry flashlights so motorists may easily spot them on the roads. Accompany small children on their treat-seeking excursions, encourage older children to trick or treat in groups, educate them all on the rules of the road, discourage accepting candy from or getting into cars with strangers and establish solid curfews. Discourage children from cutting through neighbors’ yards or unfamiliar areas where hazards, such as uncovered potholes or felled trees, may not be immediately evident. If you expect to be visited at your home by miniature “ghouls” and “ghosts” this season, be sure to scan your yard, walkway, steps and front porch for obstructions, holes and other objects that may cause problems or slip and fall accidents.
Make sure your children know to wait until you have a chance to inspect their candy hoard before eating. If you are dishing out treats, avoid purchasing items with small parts or candies that present a choking hazard for small children. The same rule applies when selecting costumes. Also look for materials that are labelled as flame-retardant.
Make sure your children know to wait until you have a chance to inspect their candy hoard before eating. If you are dishing out treats, avoid purchasing items with small parts or candies that present a choking hazard for small children. The same rule applies when selecting costumes.
Also bear in mind that, a majority of the time, people easily remember the above tips but, by the same token, forget to ensure the electrical safety of their own homes. It’s an easy thing to leave candles lit, and lights and decorations plugged in overnight. Actually, many people do so purposefully, either to ensure their homes can be seen from the street or to inspire the holiday spirit in passersby (or both). Doing this, however, may pose a dangerous fire hazard. Below is a sampling of recommended tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International, designed to help you successfully celebrate Halloween while keeping your home in pristine condition (or, at least, the same condition as it was pre-Halloween):
-Choose decorations, costumes, and accessories that are made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant, or non-combustible materials.
-Use flashlights or battery-operated candles instead of candles when decorating the home, including to light walkways, jack-o-lanterns, and outdoor displays.
-Carefully inspect each decoration before use. Cracked, frayed, or bare wires may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire.
-Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas, including doorways and walkways, where they can be a tripping hazard.
-Never nail or staple light strings or extension cords. This can damage the cord’s insulation and create a serious fire and shock hazard.
-Always turn off all electrical decorations and extinguish any open flames before leaving home or going to bed.
More tips can be found at Electrical Safety Foundation International’s website and remember, whatever you do, have a safe and happy Halloween!