22 Oct 2014 Trick-or-treating safety
by Katelin Whiddon
Trick-or-treating is a popular tradition that has carried on for generations. However, the world is not as safe as it was years ago and we must have more precautions and rules these days. Please use caution in letting your children participate in trick-or-treating so that it can be fun for everyone.
Getting younger kids out earlier in the evening can be great for many reasons. Generally, the early crowd is younger children with more innocent, happy costumes. As the evening goes on, you begin to see older kids and young adults often in costumes that are scarier for small children. Getting an earlier start also cuts down on the time children are out past dark.
If your children are going to be out after dark, look into some type of accessory to help light them up to make them more obvious to traffic. We have used glow stick bracelets and necklaces for our daughters. They love the glowing jewelry and it makes them more visible in the dark. Try to trick-or-treat in groups if at all possible. Being in a large group also makes you more visible to oncoming traffic.
Go to the door with your children, especially at homes of people you do not know. As always, please talk to your children about strangers. Be sure they know that it is never safe to go into houses of people they do not know. Give kids practice scenarios of what people may say to get them to come inside. Some tactics used to lure children in may include offering candy, toys, movies, telling them their mommy said it was OK, etc. Go over these points with your children before trick-or-treating and on a regular basis for every other day of the year.
One of my biggest pet peeves as a parent with small children is all of the people driving their kids through the neighborhoods. Children are walking in the middle of the streets and running from house to house with so much excitement. It would be very easy for those children to run in front of a car and have tragic results. Park those cars and walk with your children. It is more exercise for everyone and eliminates the risk of hitting children that may not see you coming. For the times you have to drive, please give 100 percent of your attention to the road – especially on Halloween night.
This probably could go without saying, but be sure to look through your child’s candy before handing over their bucket. Be sure to remove any opened candy from their stash. Anything that is no longer sealed in its original packaging should go straight to the trash can. Try to keep control of the candy and limit how much your children can have at a time.
Enjoy the Halloween excitement and be safe while having fun and making memories with your kids! I know I’ll be enjoying the evening with a little Unicorn and Sofia the first princess!
A native of Conway, Katelin Whiddon is a family nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.