According to a study endorsed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) conducted between 1997 and 2006, examining pediatric ER patients, Halloween is one of the top three holidays that produces the most emergency room visits.
For parents, Halloween can truly be one of the most challenging times of the year. Not only do they have to unleash all their creativity, and create a superlative costume for their kid, they also have to deal with the constant fear that a safety hazard could possibly hurt their child.
In most cases, this fear is dismissed as unfounded. People may say that parents, being parents, always worry about the worst-case scenario. But this scare is far from being without basis. Every year, one hears reports of kids suffering from injuries because of unsafe surroundings. What a lot of people do not realize is that many of the accidents reported in the wake of Halloween are costume-related.
Often, we are so engaged with making the festival fun for the kids that we forget to pay attention to the safety of the costumes that they are wearing. We gives you a list of costume-related safety tips so that your li'l princess or superhero can have all the fun on the planet while being free from any danger.
Make them Wear Bright Costumes
Always pick out a costume in a bright color so that your child can be easily spotted in the dark. If he is insistent on wearing a dark-colored costume, use reflective tape on it so that he can be seen at night. If it seems like it's going to be a slightly chilly night, ensure that you attach reflective tape on your kid's jacket as well. To be on the safer side, always have him hold a flashlight or some glow sticks.
Buy/Make Costumes that Fit Well
Oversized costumes are a Halloween nightmare and one of the biggest safety hazards out there. Capes, long gowns, tails, or any other form of oversized clothes can cause the kids to trip and injure themselves. Always ensure that the costume you buy for your kid fits well and is not too billowy. Flowing, puffy costumes can easily get caught on things, and are also a concern around candles and lanterns. Pick a costume that works well for your child's height. Also, make them walk around in the costume to see if there is any part that may snag on things.
Use Costumes Made of Flame-resistant Material
Think Halloween and you think jack-o'-lanterns, and that, in turn, means flame in some form. To ensure that your child is safe as he makes trick-or-treat rounds in the neighborhood, get him a costume made of fire-retardant material. Store-bought costumes will have a label indicating the same on them. If you are planning on making a costume at home, get advice from the salesperson, and choose a fabric that is the least flammable. Polyester is a good option. You get flame-retardant wigs as well. Always opt for those.
Don't Tie Anything Around the Neck Area
Capes with cords that have to be tied around the neck, or sashes that have to be draped around the neck, are possible strangulation hazards. Even a slight tightening of these cords could make your kid very uncomfortable. It is important not to use any costume that may have these. If your kid insists on wearing a cape, try using elastic string which is loose, instead of a tight draw string.
Use Makeup Instead of Masks
Masks have become an integral part of costumes. While they look authentic, they often pose a hazard. Masks can loosen, move from their place, and thus, impair proper sight. They can also restrict proper breathing by blocking the nose and mouth. The materials that these masks are made of can contain lead paint which is dangerous if inhaled. It is always a better idea to use makeup/face paint than to put a mask on. Even with face paints, make sure that you choose those that are FDA-approved.
Make them Wear Comfortable Footwear
While wearing matching dress-up shoes is an inviting thought, often these aren't comfortable, and definitely not suitable to walk a lot. Pick shoes that fit your kid properly, and then decorate them yourself to match the costume. You could also opt to buy costumes that come with footwear that can be simply slipped over regular shoes or sneakers. Just ensure that it doesn't slip off, as that could be a tripping hazard.
Use Accessories that are Smooth and Flexible
With costumes come accessories, and with accessories come danger. While picking out accessories such as wands, swords, knives, staffs, etc., always opt for ones that are flexible and made of soft material. Ensure that the accessory your kid is carrying has absolutely no sharp edges or points that can hurt him or others. If you can avoid an accessory completely, do that; this way your kid can hold the candy container in one hand, and hold your hand with the other.
Make them Carry Emergency Information
While you will be accompanying your kids while they go trick-or-treating, it is always a good idea to have your emergency information on their person. This should include your name, number, and address. You could either choose to make your child wear a bracelet, or sew the information on their costume.
Keep these tips in mind while buying or making a costume for your kid, and you are sure to have some peace of mind. Get carried away by the spirit of the season, and let your enthusiasm show. Make this holiday special for your kid and you. Have a truly spooktacular Halloween!