With Halloween approaching, you've likely seen those lists of safety tips for trick-or-treaters. You may remember the drill: Stick to familiar neighborhoods, carry glow sticks and flashlights, don't eat any of the goodies until you get them home for inspection.
But, what about the rest of us, the ones escorting kids from door to door, or the ones answering the door when they get there? Following are a few things we can do to help ensure the little ghosts and goblins have a fun night out without any serious scares.
Around the House
Remove anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations, from the porch and front yard.
Check all your outdoor lights before the big night and replace burned-out bulbs.
Sweep wet leaves or snow away from sidewalks and steps.
Keep jack-o'-lanterns and any other decorations lit by candles on sturdy tables, out of the reach of pets and small children. Don't put them near doorsteps, walkways, landings or curtains, and never leave them unattended.
Take care to prevent your cat or dog from darting out through the open door as you hand out candy. If you are having a party, put your pets in a room with some food and water where they won't be disturbed, and check in on them once in a while to let them know everything is fine.
In the Car
Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m., so be especially alert for kids during these hours. Turn on your headlights earlier in the day to help spot children from a greater distance.
A mobile phone can be a useful tool to keep in touch with your young spooks, but don't use it or any other electronic device while driving.
Pay extra attention, particularly to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road. Kids tend to walk along the curbs, cutting across the street to get to other homes. Keep scanning all around you as you drive, whether you're driving or following along with your children. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
Stay below the speed limit in residential areas during trick-or-treating hours. This will allow you time to brake if you see a child dart in front of you. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Don't pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway; they could be dropping off children. This is more common in rural areas, but it can happen anywhere.
If you are dropping off or picking up children, pull off the road into a safe spot and turn on your hazard lights. If you go with your kids from door to door, leave the hazard lights on.
Finally, there’s nothing scarier than finding out you don’t have the homeowners coverage you thought you had once a mishap occurs. So, this might be a good time for a quick check on your homeowners insurance coverage.
Does it include adequate protection in case your trick-or-treating guests are injured in your home or yard? If not or you’re not sure, be sure to connect with your local independent insurance agent for expert advice.