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Halloween Safety Information 2017

Don’t spoil one night of fun with a lifetime of injury.
Remember - prevention of injuries is key.

Westmeath County Council encourages all our citizens to get into the ‘spirit’ and above all stay safe and enjoy Halloween! 

 

Personal Safety:

  • Young children should always have a responsible adult escorting them door-to-door on Halloween night.
  • Talk to your child about the safety risks associated with Halloween and tell them how to lessen the risks.
  • If your child has a mobile phone, make sure they have it in their possession when they go out, that it is charged and has credit so they can ring for help if needed.
  • Remind children about "stranger danger" and the importance of not talking to people they do not know. This also means skipping houses that do not have lights on and never trick or treating at strangers' houses.
  • Teach your child not to approach any animals at Halloween as even animals that are normally calm and friendly and known to the person can often attack when frightened by noises such as fireworks.
  • Keep in contact with older friends, neighbours and relatives - remember Halloween can be a frightening time for some people.
  • Teach your child to respect other people's well-being, safety and peace of mind.

Costumes, masks and wigs:

  • All costumes, masks and wigs should be flame resistant:
    • Make sure children are wearing "normal" clothes under the costume, so that some protection may be given if the costume catches fire.
    • If somebody catches fire, they should do the 'stop, drop and roll' drill - stop what they're doing, get on the ground and roll. Allow the ground, and not a person's hands, to suffocate the fire.
    • To prevent falls, make sure your child’s costume fits well, isn’t too long and does not have too much loose fabric.
    • Face painting is often a safer choice for trick-or-treaters than a mask which can block or obscure vision - make sure your child is not allergic to any of the face paint ingredients.
    • Dress for the weather, so your child and you are comfortable and warm.

 

Be Safe - Be Seen whilst Trick or Treating:

Be safe:

  • Parents need to accompany young children while they are trick or treating.
  • Note that the Road Safety Authority advises that no child under the age 12 years should be allowed cross the road or cycle on the road without adult supervision.
  • Consider ‘trick-or-treating’ in a group and staying together.
  • Don’t forget to: stop, look, listen and look again before crossing the road.

 

 Be seen:

  • It is important that motorists can see you clearly. Parents and children should wear bright costumes/clothing made of flame-resistant material with reflective tape, or carry light sticks or a flashlight.
  • Stay on footpaths and driveways.
  • Stay off lawns and gardens.
  • Avoid poorly lit areas.

 

Firework and Bonfire Safety:

  • Every year children get firework and bonfire related injuries and some are scarred for life.
  • To be safest, plan family fun and activities that don’t include fireworks and do not allow children attend unsupervised bonfires.
  • Be cautious even at supervised bonfires. You never know when someone might throw something into the bonfire unknown to the supervisors that could be highly flammable or toxic and which could cause serious injuries.
  • Children should never hold lit sparklers as they can burn as hot as 700oC and will not go out even when doused in water. 
  • Under 2006 legislation, if you ignite a firework or cause it to be ignited in any place, you are guilty of an offence (unless you are a licensed operator).
  • The offence of igniting a firework can apply to any location, including the garden of a private house.
  • 30% of injuries are caused by illegal or homemade fireworks.
  • Water or the appropriate fire extinguisher should always be nearby when fireworks and bonfires are being used.

Check treats thoroughly:

  • Before eating treats, make sure that they are all checked by a responsible adult.
  • Discard treats that aren’t in sealed packaging or look suspicious.
  • Does your child have any allergies?
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

Choking:

  • Choking occurs most frequently among children under two years of age, but choking can happen at any age.
  • Do not give children under five years of age popcorn, boiled sweets, nuts, or rubber balloons.
  • When eating sweets, parents should have children sit down - remember eating while playing, running, jumping, etc can lead to a choking episode.

Slow down and watch for pedestrians:

  • Motorists are advised to slow down and drive with extra cautionthis Halloween:
    • Children may be difficult to see if wearing dark costumes.
    • Remember, children can be unpredictable! They can dash across a roadway without giving any indication of their intention.
    • Watch for children running out between parked cars.

Pets and other animals:

  • Keep pets safe over Halloween.
  • Remind children not to frighten or annoy pets and other animals.

Role model:

  • Be a good role model for your children: act safely and responsibly this Halloween.

 

 

Most unintentional injuries (often called accidents) can be prevented:

Remember the key message where child safety is concerned -
Watch your child at all times, as children do not understand danger

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 31/10/2017