Trick or treatment—don't spend Halloween in the ER

Consumer Reports News: October 29, 2009 04:05 PM

Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so it promises to be a big night for trick-or-treaters who may stay out later than usual. It's a good night for fright and fun, but it's also a big night for accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5 to 14) is four times higher on Halloween evening that any other evening of the year. Drivers should be extremely cautious on Halloween.

This Halloween I'll be doing the following to keep my children and our friends and neighbors safe. Feel free to borrow these tips.

First, I'm making sure that the pathway to my front door is well lit and not strewn with wet leaves, flower pots, garden hoses, or any other obstacle that could cause a nasty fall.
My jack-o-lantern and luminaries will be lit with electric candles this year since real candles can set costumes on fire. 
I made sure my decorative Halloween lights have a UL-listed label on the cord. The one outside has the appropriate red UL holographic label, while the one inside the house has a green holographic label.
My kids think this is "lame," but I'm taking the advice of one of our readers and doling out mini flashlights along with some candy. They cost me about a dollar each including the AA battery but it's well worth it. If kids use them, drivers may be able to see them better in the dark, and all kids like flashlights. The Halloween flashlights I'm handing out are not the same flashlights recalled by Target. However, I cut the looped string off the lights I bought because I feared that could pose a strangulation hazard.  
My older daughter wants to venture out with a group of friends this year. She'll be carrying a cell phone so that she can check in with me regularly. Both children will carry flashlights and identification.

We're all looking forward to a night of fright and fun and staying out of the ER. Happy Halloween! —Don Mays

More Halloween safety tips

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