Halloween is just one week away. Kids will be dressed up as princesses, ghosts and superheroes going from door-to-door trick-or-treating. For parents, this means not only worrying about the insane sugar high that can follow after consuming free candy, but also worrying about keeping children safe from strangers, tainted treats and pedestrian accidents.
The first thing to keep in mind is that with all of these fears -- while they are all rational -- a lot of the worry is based off of false reports, an increase in media coverage and the general anxiety of children being unsupervised going up to stranger's homes.
However, this isn't to say that nothing will happen and parents should still take proper precautionary measures.
When it comes to the worry over tainted candy, while there have reportedly never even been any cases of children becoming ill or killed after eating contaminated candy, parents should still take heed and inspect all candy before it's eaten.
In terms of strangers and child abduction, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in terms of kidnappings, Halloween is no more dangerous than any other time of the year. However, this being said, parents should still know where their children are and make sure there is at least one adult watching the younger kids. With older kids, parents can keep in touch via cellphones.
Lastly, while parents justifiably worry about strangers with candy, it's important to make sure kids are visible while tricking-or-treating, as the statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show an increase in pedestrian accidents. In most cases, children were hit while either crossing the street or walking along the road.
To decrease the chance of pedestrian accidents, children should have either a glow stick or a flashlight to make themselves more visible to motorists. If this isn't possible, reflective tape can be put on costumes. Motorists should also keep in mind that it's Halloween and children are out trick-or-treating and drive with caution.