Have you heard? Halloween is fast approaching! Get ready to be scared! However, make sure that the “frights” occur as a result of seeing your child in a scary costume, as opposed to thinking about all of the dangers your child can face going out on a night that is supposed to be filled with fun.
Halloween used to be fun! It used to be safe! When I was little, my parents didn’t have to worry about the things that parent MUST worry about today. The thought of someone spiking candy with a dangerous object or substance? Unheard of. The thought of a maniac hurting your child? Not even on the radar. The fear of your child being out in the neighborhood by himself? Come on, no problem! Sadly, the times have drastically changed.
Being a personal injury attorney, I have seen a lot of unnecessary injuries. Looking at Halloween with this perspective I see flashing neon lights telling me I am going to get very busy really soon. That is NOT a good thing.
Halloween obviously encourages lots of fun. However, when it comes to personal safety, it also brings with it more hazards than one would encounter on an average day/night. We are bringing together a confluence of elements that really are not meant to be brought together: Lots of excited and anxious children outside, and cars. Children hurrying to get to that next house for the candy rewards which will certainly follow, and drivers trying to get home from work quickly for the night, or trying to get to the Halloween parties for the fun. And, ALL of them wearing costumes that can have no bad affects other than to block or impair vision from one to the other.
Who is to blame when a child gets hurt? Granted, each circumstance must be judged independently, but the adults responsible for the child, and the drivers responsible for their travel, are where the 2 biggest areas on blame lie, in my opinion. If you are a parent, you need to make sure your kids are under control. Trick or treat in a group. Don’t let the kids stray too far ahead—keep the group together. Cross streets in a group, and make sure that the kids are severely admonished BEFORE the fun starts that “no one crosses the street outside of the group”. Make sure all costumes are the right size, and that the child can see out of his/her mask. Wear reflective clothing, and pay attention to traffic in the area. Drivers, be aware that this is Halloween, and there will be LOTS of kids out and about, much more so than any other night of the year! Drive slowly, especially through neighborhoods, and keep an extra lookout for children and others. If you have a costume, leave the hindrances off until you get to the party. Save that grand entrance for another occasion.
There are many other dangers like these that can surface on Halloween, including criminal activity. You should keep your child close and always within sight; make sure your child knows not to talk to strangers except when actually trick-or-treating at the door with you or a group; never to enter a strangers home or get in their car; likewise never invite a stranger into your home or car; stay within your own neighborhood; wait to eat candy until you have inspected it. For a list of other safety tips visit the Police Department (http://www.phoenix.gov/police/halloween_tips.html) website in your city.
Our kids don’t have to miss out on the fun of Halloween, we just have to teach them to be cautious and aware, and we need to remain cautious and aware for them.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!!!!