Category: Presilience

Keeping Families Safe this Halloween by Ron Amram

Halloween can be a great opportunity for kids and parents to have a wonderful time together.

Dressing in a costume, going trick-or-treating with family and friends, and let’s not forget what it’s all really about – candy!

At the same time a child travelling alone, after dark, in an unfamiliar environment and in a restrictive outfit increases the risk of bad things happening.

From that we can see there are a few different types of dangers and risks that we should be aware of:

  1. Dangers relating to costumes
  2. Dangers relating to kids travelling alone, especially after dark
  3. Dangers relating to healthy eating

Here are some tips to help you manage these risks:

Dangers Relating to Costumes:

  1. Restrictive costumes: Your kids are likely to have to cross the road a few times, and may be slow due to wearing a cumbersome or heavy costume. Make sure that your child’s costume doesn’t excessively restrict their view. This will make sure their situational awareness is not hindered and will make sure they can see oncoming traffic, as well as other dangers. The same thing applies to costumes that are extremely restrictive on breathing. If your child does wear a mask that is restrictive or view and/or breathing, ask them to remove it before crossing the road, or even only putting it on before knocking on the door to trick or treat.
  2. Fire and Catching Dangers: While it’s impossible to make costumes completely fire-proof, you should try and minimise loose odds and ends that may get stuck, snagged or catch fire easily.

Dangers Relating to Kids Travelling Alone:

Depending on age group, you may or may not be joining your kids. If you do not, keep the following in mind:

  1. Plan ahead: Plan your child’s route with them, so that you know exactly where they are or might be, and roughly how long it will take them to complete the route. It is a good idea to walk through it with them before Halloween so they are familiar with the route and know the street names and recognise the environment.
  2. Stranger Danger: Instruct your child never to enter homes when trick-or-treating; If the person invites the in, they should politely refuse. If the person insists, they should refuse and leave quickly.
  3. Safety in Numbers: Your child should go with a group of friends.
  4. Adult Supervision: Depending on age group, there may be an adult accompanying a group of kids. Make sure you have their contact details. It’s also wise to know how many kids may be joining the group to make sure there is sufficient supervision.

Dangers Relating to Healthy Eating:

Let’s get down to business. You kid’s probably going to come home with an excess of sugary treats, and may want to eat as many of them as possible as soon as they arrive home. Here are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

  1. If you child has any food allergies, make sure that you ask them not to eat anything they haven’t eaten before and know is safe before getting home. If they are going with a group and there is adult supervision, inform the adult supervisor of their allergies.
  2. While it’s important to let kids enjoy their bounty, it’s also important to try and moderate how much they are having. This can be a great opportunity to teach them about sharing and saving for another day, without taking away from the excitement of rummaging through their bounty. It’s also a good opportunity to emphasise the fun of creating and getting into a costume, and spending quality time with family and friends. Make the focus about the experience and hopefully rationing chocolate will be a bit easier!

Don’t let this great holiday turn into a scary story! With a little planning, you can make sure that this Halloween is the best one yet for you and your kids.