If you have young children, they’re probably constantly counting to see how many days are left until Halloween. After all, they have to be sure that there’s enough time for all of the preparations, like finding the perfect costume and deciding where to go trick-or-treating.
That’s a part of the holiday fun. The rest of the fun takes place on Halloween night when they knock on neighbors’ doors, anticipating the delectable goodies that will soon be filling their treat bags.
Unfortunately, in many instances, what should have been a night to remember for its good times, turns into a night that is remembered because of a tragedy. Oncor, a company that provides electricity to consumers, says that four times as many children between the ages of 5 and 14 are killed walking on Halloween night than at any other time of year. The chief cause for these deaths are falls.
That’s why the company put together a press release to outline what safety measures parents can take to prevent children from being seriously injured or dying while they are out trick-or-treating. Oncor presents a two-fold strategy that encompasses hazards that parents might not normally consider, like holiday decorations that become tripping hazards or outlets that present an electrocution risk.
Here’s what they recommend when you are putting up your decorations:
- Keep sidewalks and pathways clear of electrical cords attached to decorations.
- Secure electrical chords between light stakes that are are dug into the ground so that they can’t move. Check that the chords are visible in the dark.
- Be sure that the yard has sufficient lighting so that any tripping hazards are visible. Clear pathways of any obstacles that might be a hazard.
- Use only grounded outdoor lighting for decorations, and low voltage security lights.
- Place battery-powered lights or light sticks inside Jack-O-Lanterns instead of burning candles.
- Use fixtures that are water-resistant and UL-approved for outdoor use. Also, lights rated for indoor use should never be used outside. Consider using break-resistant fixtures and decorations to prevent the possibility of cuts due to breaking glass.
- Check that all your outdoor electric outlets are covered, and have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. These are devices that detect if electricity is leaking out of the outlet to the ground. If the device senses that this is the case, it trips the circuit, immediately shutting off power.
- Don’t decorate utility poles, transformers, or electric meters.
The second part of Oncor’s strategy involves the children themselves:
- Never allow children to approach a home unless it is well-lit. Having the lights on is an indication that the resident is welcoming trick-or-treaters.
- Be sure that children carry flash lights, light sticks, or have reflective tape on their costumes.
- Buy costumes that are flame retardant. If your child is wearing a homemade costume, keep them away from candles, or any open flames.
In addition these safety tips, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind when you’re taking the kids trick-or-treating. Always walk on the sidewalks and cross the streets at the intersection.
Never cross between parked cars. And never allow your kids to enter anyone’s home unless you accompany them. Finally, remember that Halloween with all of its noisy fun can be a very stressful time for pets. Keep your animals inside so that they won’t accidentally run out in front of an oncoming car, or bite a child that inadvertently frightens them.
Pic of the Day: Sauvignon Meow