Child safety is always important, but it should especially be on the minds of all parents as we get close to October 31st.
While teaching KidSafe’s Abduction Prevention lesson yesterday, the discussion turned to safety at Halloween and we were shocked by what some of these kids are allowed to do!
So to help you out this Halloween, we’ve got some tips and ideas for you to think about if
your children are participating in knocking on doors of strangers and asking for candy. Just some short and sweet tips to make it a fun and safe evening for your little trick-or-treaters!
- Use the Buddy System – seems like common sense, but many kids told us they were planning to walk around by themselves. If your child does not have a group to go with, you need to go with them. Many of the kids said their moms had to stay home to give out candy – REALLY? That’s more important than keeping your child safe? NO! If you’re worried about time management, set a time that you will walk around with your child and then come home and give out candy. A win-win!
- Only go to the homes of people you know. Some children told us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood.
- Take the time to check your state’s sex offender registry before leaving the house to make sure that your kids aren’t knocking on an offenders door!
- Tell your children to NEVER go inside a person’s house. Children shared some pretty frightening stories about knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. But even if kids don’t understand the danger of going into a house – you do! So before your child goes trick or treating sit down and have a discussion about the rules.
- Tell your children to not go near dogs that you do not know. (One student shared a near miss attack by a pit-bull last year.)
- Tell your children NOT eat any candy until you have looked it over and deemed it “SAFE.” (And you have picked out some of the favorites for yourself.)
- If your children are going out with their friends and not with a grown-up, make sure you set up designated times for them to “check in” in with you.
- Walk on the sidewalk if there is one. (If they are walking, especially on the street and wearing dark costumes, a flash light is highly recommended.)
- Do not talk to anyone driving by in a car. (Remind them that adults they do not know should not be asking kids for help – they should be asking other adults.) If approached they need to report this to a grownup immediately.
Remember, this blog was inspired by real conversations we had with eight and nine-year-olds yesterday as they shared their experiences during our KidSafe lessons. Halloween can be an amazing family holiday. We have neighbors that transform their garage into a haunted house and all the kids look forward to the scare and fun. Most of the families walk around in large groups – adults socializing as well as the children.
BUT as child safety experts we also see the not-so-safe side of Halloween – kids as young as six and seven walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers doors for candy. This is a predator’s dream: children alone, and coming right to their door. So sit down with your children and discuss a plan of action for their safety this year.
For more safety tips visit our website www.kidsafefoundation.org