October is upon us, and with it comes Halloween! Traditionally, Halloween safety is considered in terms of younger children, trick-or-treating, and supervised school parties.
However, Halloween is not just for the little ones. You may find your teenager wants to help decorate the house. They may want to go trick-or-treating or go to a Halloween party. Here are a few things to help them (and you) have a safe and fun experience.
If they are driving home from school or practice on days your community is trick-or-treating, make sure they know to pay extra attention. While parents of young trick-or-treaters try their best to keep young ones safe and orderly, sometimes the urge to get to the next house, to dart into the street because they got spooked, or to run and see the costume of one of their favorite characters can be overwhelming. If your teen is driving on Halloween, encourage them to drive slower than usual or have them drive home a little later after most kids have gone back inside. Strictly enforce the “no texting and driving” rule. You may want to consider driving them or picking them up if they are new drivers.
If your teen is going to a Halloween party, make sure they are costume smart. If they are dressing up, they shouldn’t be driving in a costume that impedes their ability to see. Ensure their costume allows them to turn their head completely and does not affect their ability to operate the vehicle safely. This may require them to wait and get dressed up once they reach their destination. The same applies to any passengers in the car. Further, be sure their costume is appropriate for the weather or that they bring extra layers.
Remember that some costumes may alter the voice or mask the appearance of their friends. Ask them to be sure they verify individuals at parties before interacting with them. If you host a party at your house with teenagers, limit it to invited guests and/or friends who can be identified. Advise teens never to leave drinks or food unattended. Lastly, review with them all your expectations regarding alcohol and drugs.
Halloween is an exciting time of the year. So let’s be sure to have a fun and safe Hallow-teen! \
Dr. Jacob Edwards is a General Pediatrician licensed by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Edwards received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed his Pediatric Residency Program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He has completed advanced studies in Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Edwards sees both pediatric and young adult (ages 18- 24) patients at Dothan Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic and his clinical interests include obesity and sports medicine.