You'd never let your child go to a stranger's house unattended any other time of year, so why should Halloween be any different?
Nancy A. McBride, the National Safety Director for the Center for Missing & Exploited Children says children should be accompanied by a parent or trusted adult and walked to the door by the parent to receive treats.
"Know the neighborhood in which you plan to trick-or-treat. Pick houses that you feel comfortable letting your child visit. Do not visit homes that are isolated or poorly lit," she says. Make sure your child is able to see and move easily in his or her costume. "Consider having your child carry a flashlight so that they can see more easily and are easily seen," she notes. And even if your child is old enough to out without your supervision, always make sure he or she is in a group.
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If you're still nervous, there are several tracking apps that can provide an extra layer of security to keep track of your children via cell phone without being intrusive. The Snap Secure Geo-fence for Android sets a virtual boundary. "If they stray from that perimeter, or don't return to a specified location within a certain period of time, it automatically sends you an e-mail alert," says Jiren Parikh, CEO of Snap MyLife, Inc. the developer of the app. Their other app, the Snap Secure Family Locator, "lets you check in on their exact location at any time, in real-time, by using your own mobile device or Web dashboard," he notes.
Finally, keep in mind there are different ways to celebrate the holiday that don't involve going to strangers' houses.
"I'm a big fan of organizing a home or community party as an alternative to trick-or-treating,"?claims McBride.
Safe and secure costumes
Not only do you have to get your kid a costume, but you also have to make sure it won’t hurt them. Here is some advice from the ACEP, a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine, which wants to make sure your kid stays out of the emergency room this Halloween:
Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes. Also, make sure they don’t obstruct the child’s sight or vision and they are made out of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
Add reflective tape to costumes so your child is more visible to motor vehicles and avoid dark colors.
Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects. Make sure they are made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.
Additional safety tips from NCMEC
Be sure children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, and make sure they get away quickly if someone gets out of a vehicle and starts to approach them.
Children should never enter a home without his or her parent’s permission.
Teach your child to say “No!” or “This is not my mother/father!” in a very loud voice if someone tries to get him or her to go somewhere.