Putting Safety First
Autumn has put its colorful and cooler grip on Minnesota. It’s getting dark earlier and stores have stocked Halloween costumes and piles of bagged candy (and older kids are stockpiling toilet paper, silly string and cans of shaving foam). Kids of all ages and parents are looking forward to Trick-or-Treat and Halloween parties.
Halloween requires extra precaution since kids are involved in some potentially dangerous activities and events: carving pumpkins, walking dark streets and crossing intersections, and wearing costumes than can obstruct vision. So, let’s talk about Halloween safety.
Candles in jack-o’-lanterns, wearing costumes improperly, falls, traffic accidents, and even face makeup can lead to Halloween injuries like cuts, abrasions, wounds, and burns. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday (behind Christmas, of course). It’s also the second-most common time of year for children to get holiday-related injuries needing a visit to ER (also behind Christmas). CPSC estimates 4,500 Americans sustained Halloween-related injuries last year. The most common are severe hand injuries from pumpkin carving, and leg and extremity injuries due to falls caused by long costumes or costumes that impair vision.
The National Safety Council, CPSC and Protect America have compiled Halloween injury stats—a couple showing a surprising lack of common-sense adult guidance, in my opinion—that should put all of us on alert as 41 million children will go trick-or-treating in the U.S. this month.
- 41 percent of injuries were tied to pumpkin carving.
- 63 percent of children don’t carry a flashlight while they are trick-or-treating.
- 70 percent of parents don’t accompany their children trick-or-treating.
- $13 million worth of property damage is caused by fires each Halloween.
- 41 people are injured in house fire accidents each Halloween.
- Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Trick-Or-Treat for Safety, Not Just a Sugar-Rush
While most of these precautions are basic safety guidelines, there are a few you may not have considered.
- Your child’s costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant; avoid masks, which can obstruct vision.
- Use the buddy system, preferably a parent.
- Visit homes of people you know or neighborhoods you are familiar with.
- Trick-or-Treat in daylight.
- If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks, or better yet, a flashlight with new batteries.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
- Know the rules of street safety:
- Put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Be aware that rainy weather can make roads slippery and pedestrians can be hard to see.
Trick-Or-Treat Apartment Style
Trick-or treating isn’t just for single-family neighborhoods. Multi-family housing residents join in the fun too. Tips to ensure your residents and guests are safe include:
- Review safety and fire regulations with staff so they are familiar with protocol and prepared for emergencies.
- Remind residents of safety regulations (décor, electric lighting, candle-lit pumpkins, etc.). Post notices in highly-visible areas such as hallways and elevators or mail them to residents.
- Keep sidewalks and hallways clear of obstacles.
- Make sure all lights, surveillance cameras and security systems are working.
- Enter and exit parking lots, driveways and alleys carefully.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
- Consider hosting an indoor Halloween party or trunk-or-treat in the parking lot for younger kids in your complex.
The Brothers Fire & Security team hopes that by planning ahead and using extra caution, your Halloween will be a safe and enjoyable time. But don’t steal your kids’ candy—they count it!
About Brothers Fire & Security
As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.