October 27, 2002
Sammy Safety encourages children, parents to 'think first' about Halloween safety
By Lisa Gates
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—As a part of Think First, Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s statewide safety and injury prevention program, physicians and staff at the Jackson hospital are working with firefighters, police officers and paramedics to encourage children in Mississippi schools to think first while trick-or-treating this Halloween.
A little caution goes a long way toward making Halloween a safe and fun holiday—that’s the message Sammy Safety, Methodist Rehab’s injury prevention mascot, and local fire departments are delivering to schools.
“We want parents, children and homeowners to do all they can to prevent accidents on such a fun night for kids,” said Think First coordinator Lauren Fairburn.
The Think First team encourages children to:
- Always go trick-or-treating with an adult or group of friends
- Plan the entire route and make sure parents approve it
- Wear a flame-retardant costume that doesn’t drag the ground
- Let parents check candy before it is eaten
- Be cautious of strangers
- Accept treats only in the doorway and never go inside a house
- Don't play near lit jack-o-lanterns
- Only visit houses with lights on
- Walk on sidewalks and driveways and do not run
- Cross the street at the corner or at a crosswalk
- Take a cellular phone with you if possible and carry a flashlight
- Always be aware of the time
Along with these tips, it’s important to think safe when it comes to dressing up for the holiday. “Many children suffer from Halloween related injuries such as skin rashes from face paint, eye scratches and cuts from sharp objects on a mask or costume and occasionally burns from flammable costumes ignited by open flames from jack o’lanterns,” Fairburn said.
She urges parents to plan a trick-or-treat route for their child and make sure they carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing. Parents should encourage children to eat dinner before leaving the house, carry quarters so they can call home and be to sure to look at the candy wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks tampered with.
Homeowners should also exercise appropriate safety measures for Halloween.
“People should remove anything in their yard or driveways that could trip the trick-or-treaters,” said Jackie Moore, fire safety educator for the Jackson Fire Department. Moore encourages pet owners to secure their pets and to make sure all paper or cloth yard decorations are out of the way of flaming candles.
Moore recommends using battery powered jack o’lantern candles instead of a real flame. “This eliminates any fire hazard, especially since homeowners won’t be outside watching the burning candles at all times,” adds Moore.
Think First is aimed at young children and teenagers and tries to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boat, swimming and diving safety. Think First presentations include a video about injury prevention and a lesson about brain and spinal cord injuries. Students receive bike reflectors, bike safety tips, a family safety checklist and information about school bus safety.
For more information:
Safety key for fun on Halloween | The Clarion-Ledger