TOMS RIVER – Halloween is just a few short days away and officials from the Ocean County Health Department want to help out local parents by providing some safety tips to make sure everyone has a happy and healthy Halloween.
“Children look forward to this special holiday all year long, so we want to make sure as parents and grandparents we make it a memorable experience without any issues that may lead to injury or health worries,” stated Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “Sometimes things can get a little hectic but remember safety comes first.”
According to the OCHD, an estimated 65 percent of parents don’t discuss Halloween safety with their children. While one may not consider certain risk factors when picking out their costume or making their Halloween plans, officials remind that there are 3,600 Halloween-related injuries every year, 12 percent of children under 12 trick-or-treat alone, and 52 percent of motor vehicle deaths on Halloween involve alcohol.
“We all want our children to enjoy the holiday, but it’s also so important to keep an open eye out for the variety of safety hazards that come with the festivities,” said Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator. “All the excitement, the interesting sights, and so many other things can easily distract a child. Its crucial children and parents be aware of their surroundings and make smart decisions.”
OCHD officials provide the following handy tips to have a safe holiday this year. Think “SAFE HALLOWEEN”:
- S – Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
- A – Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
- F – Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- E – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
- H – Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
- A – Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- L – Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
- L – Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
- O – Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
- W – Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
- E – Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- E – Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
- N – Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
“Unfortunately, each year we hear about the incidents that led to a child being injured. Fractures, burns, throat obstructions, eye injuries, and other hazards are just some of the things that can happen,” said Regenye. “Go over the Safe Halloween tips with your children and treat them to a safe and healthy holiday.”
For more information, visit the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org.