1) Make sure your child's costume is light-colored or has reflective elements, so drivers can see them.
2) If a mask is worn, make sure the eye cutouts are large and do not restrict the peripheral vision of your child.
3) Inspect the costume is ensure it is fire-proof or fire-retardant. Make sure that costumes don't restrict walking, which could cause your child to trip and fall.
4) If your child's costume involves a prop - such as a sword, spear or a pitchfork - make sure the tips are blunt and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on.
5) Know where your children will be trick-or-treating. In some neighborhoods, it's not wise to let children walk the streets by themselves. The safest approach is to make sure that an adult is with them. If you can't take your children yourself, see if another parent can.
6) Instruct your children to be vigilant of cars when crossing the street and to look both ways before stepping into the street. If cross-walks are available in the neighborhood, instruct your children to always use them. If crosswalks are not available, tell your children to cross at a corner. Teach them that jaywalking is not only illegal, but also very unsafe especially on dark or busy streets.
7) Encourage your children to carry flashlights so they can see possible obstacles in yards, sidewalks and driveways. (Flashlights are also effective in getting drivers' attention.)
8) Teach your children to use sidewalks and driveways to reach the front door, and not to cut across yards (which may have unseen obstacles)
Driving Safety During Halloween
1) Drive defensively at all times. With hundreds of children and teenagers running from house to house and across residential streets (and maybe even major roads), drivers must be extremely cautious when driving. Remember, some costumes (think Batman or Darth Vader) are dark and are difficult to see. Also, many homemade costumes don't have reflective or light-colored elements. Keep your eyes open at all times.
2) In residential areas, it's always smart to drive at school-zone speeds (20 mph) or even less. If parked cars are on the street, be especially watchful for children darting between cars and into the street.
3) Don't assume that after 8 p.m. that all the trick-or-treaters have returned home and the streets are now free of costumed children. Many older children or teenagers may still be on the streets or going to or from Halloween parties.
Homeowner Safety During Halloween
1) Think safety before making your house and yard into a spook alley. The risk of injury on a person's property - and liability - begins at your property line.
2) Before Halloween, inspect your entire property during both daylight and nighttime for any hazards that could trip up children. Special scrutiny should be given to the sidewalks and driveway leading to the front door - make sure the path to the front door is free of trip hazards and easily accessible.
3) Remember, children may be cutting across your lawn to reach your front door and may not see obstructions in the front yard, such as lawn ornaments, bikes, garden hoses, sprinklers, potted plants, skateboards, etc.
4) Avoid darkness. It may be more fun to have children approach a spooky darkened house, but remember that darkness may cause children to misjudge steps or trip over Halloween props. Keep your outdoor lights on!
5) Make sure candle-lit pumpkins are kept away from anything flammable (including trick-or-treaters).
6) Restrain your pets. Dogs and cats may be aggravated or frightened by the arrival of costumed children shouting "Trick or Treat." If your dog is naturally aggressive, it should be properly restrained and kept away from visitors.
7) Just in case, make sure you have adequate homeowners insurance.
Craig Swapp & Associates is located at 9980 South 330 West #400 in Sandy. (801) 990-1919
For more information, please visit: http://www.craigswapp.com.