TOPEKA (KSNT) – Local officials are offering up some handy safety tips on Monday to help Kansans keep their children and pets safe from Halloween frights.
Health officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Safe Kids Kansas, Kansas Poison Center and Office of the State Fire Marshal said ghosts and goblins shouldn’t be your primary concern on Halloween night when considering the safety of your kids. Real dangers such as traffic accidents, falls, burns and poisonings can pose a greater threat to your children, according to a KDHE press release.
Children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to the KDHE. Motorists are encouraged to slow down on Halloween and remain on high alert, especially in neighborhoods.
Parents should also go over safety rules with their kids before they start trick-or-treating. Children younger than 12 should not cross streets alone on this holiday without an adult or responsible teenager.
“While it’s a good idea for children to have a cell phone with them in case of an emergency, remind them to pay attention to their surroundings,” Cherie Sage, director of Safe Kids Kansas, said. “Don’t be distracted from hazards because you are texting or talking on the phone.”
Parents are encouraged to check any candies their kids collect throughout the night before they are eaten. Candy should only be eaten if it comes in original and unopened wrappers. It is also important to keep medicine locked away from where children might find it and mistake it for candy, according to the KDHE.
Halloween decorations should also be kept away from heat sources to reduce the risk of starting a fire. Use battery-powered candles or lights and make sure working smoke alarms are in every level of your home.
To keep your pets safe on Halloween, Clinical Professor Susan Nelson with Kansas State University recommends leaving your pets inside the days before and after the holiday, including on the day itself.
“Be conscious of open doors, as some animals might make attempts to go outside,” Nelson said. “Make sure pets have some form of identification, such as microchips, collars or tags. Reflective collars will make it safer should the pets get out, as it will make them more visible.”
If you’re dressing your pet up for the holiday, Nelson said you should have the pet try the costume on before to make sure your pet is comfortable.
“When shopping for pet Halloween costumes, be mindful of costumes that have loose or small parts that could be pulled off and ingested,” Nelson said. “If your pet seems distressed or allergic or shows abnormal behavior with a costume, consider having it wear a Halloween-themed bandana instead or nothing at all if even that causes distress.”
Nelson also said pet owners should keep all candy away from their animals, consider disconnecting their doorbells so as to not stress their pets out and keep in mind that some pets may not recognize their owners while they’re in costume. If you think your pet has eaten something toxic, you are urged to contact your veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.