By Amy Golden
Halloween is meant to be fun for all ages, especially for young kids. Children get to dress up in costumes and mimick their favorite characters, ideas and visions. The kids run around their school and neighborhoods, not worrying about anything other than not getting enough candy. That’s where the parents can make sure their kids are safe.
Autumn has begun, meaning nightfall comes earlier. Trick-or-treating times for San Diego County starts around 6 p.m. Parents or older siblings should always stay with their children while going from house to house, crossing the street or anywhere children go to trick-or-treat.
Here are some simple safety precautions you can take. Always check the candy collected before the child opens it. Check the goodies for tears, punctures, and holes, and do not accept homemade items. Make sure the candies are sealed via factory packaging. If any obstructions are found, dispose of the items as soon as possible.
Carefully search through your child’s back pack or container before they throw their little hands in there. They may get stuck or cut by something that may not be able to be remedied. Check your local hospital; they may X-ray candy for free.
Always stay with the child while they go door to door, watch and listen to the interaction between your child and the person giving them their treat. Put reflective tape/clothing or stickers on your child’s costume so they can be seen by you and any other traffic. Try and keep children on sidewalks as much as possible.
Always have your child and yourself carry a flashlight or glow sticks, which can even be attached to the costume. It is unsafe for them to wear a mask while walking around in the dark. If your child is wearing a mask, have them only put it on while going up to houses/businesses.
If your child goes off with another group, always have a safe meeting place in the area in which you parted ways. Have a safe word or phrase between you, your child and if necessary, a third person.
It is a good idea for your child to know how to operate your cell phone to place emergency calls, just in case. Do trust your parental instincts. Check www.SDSheriff.net or www.meganslaw.ca.gov to pre-check neighborhoods for sex offenders prior to setting out to explore some place new, or just for an update. Churches in your neighborhood may have Halloween activities, or your communities may have gatherings which may be put on by the local police and/or fire departments.
No matter what, keep an eye on your child. Always know what they are wearing, and if they are mixed in with a crowd of others, always be able to pick them out of the crowd. Same goes for the child; Make sure they are able to pick you out of a crowd.
Not only does it get your heart rate up and terrify you not to know where your child is, it terrifies them just the same. As a parent it is your duty to protect and do whatever you can for the welfare of your child, as unfortunate as it is to worry about anything bad happening to them while they are having so much fun, it does happen. Don’t let it be to your child.