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New Jersey Parents’ Guide to a Safe and Fun Halloween

If you have kept up with the news, you undoubtedly know that clown costumes probably are not the best idea for this Halloween. In fact, they are even being banned in some parts of the country, including New Jersey.

Running into a creepy clown, however, may not be the most serious safety concern for you and your kids on Halloween.

The Red Cross points out how children are excited on Halloween and may not think about safety. It is a sad statistic, but the AAA auto club, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that children are four times more likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.

Therefore, it is useful to remind parents as well as to teach kids what they need to know and do in order to enjoy an incident-free Halloween. To help you to prepare, the lawyers of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have pulled together the following Halloween safety tips for parents.

These tips are based on advice from the Red Cross, AAA, Safe Kids New Jersey, and the National Safety Council:

Costume Safety

Costume SafetyBuy or make costumes that are flame-resistant, brightly colored and light-reflective. A store-bought costume should be labeled as made of flame-resistant materials. Use reflective tape or stickers to add light-reflection elements to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

Additionally, make sure your child’s costumes are not too long and cause a tripping risk. Make sure shoes fit.

Instead of masks, which can slip and block a child’s vision, you should use make up or washable face paint. Make sure his or her hat and other headgear fits properly and will not slip over the child’s eyes.

Any accessories to a costume such as wands or canes should be soft and flexible. Avoid costumes accessories that look like weapons.

Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-TreatingChildren younger than 12 years old should always be accompanied by one or more adults or an older, responsible sibling while trick-or-treating. (Check out this guide to local trick-or-treat times in New Jersey.)

If you have older children who are going trick-or-treating, make sure they tell you where they plan to go and when they expect to return home. If you have a curfew, make sure they know it.

You should take your kids trick-or-treating in a group on a planned route that covers parts of the neighborhood and homes you are familiar with. Only visit homes that have porch lights on, indicating they welcome visitors. Children should steer clear of animals (pets) they are not familiar with.

Walk on sidewalks or facing traffic and as far to the left as possible. Use driveways and walkways. Never cut across yards or alleys or go between parked cars.

Your kids should carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better and so they can be seen by drivers. The contents of glow sticks are toxic. They may not be appropriate for younger children, who might stick them in their mouths. Older children should be properly instructed.

Talk to your kids before they head out about taking their time and walking instead of running. They should also look both ways before crossing the road and cross streets only at corners and where lights and crosswalks are available.

Trick-or-treaters belong on the porch. Children should not enter any home unless they know the residents well.

All treats should go directly into trick-or-treaters’ bags and stay there until they get home and are examined by parents. Unwrapped or homemade treats should simply be discarded.

Be Ready for Trick-or-Treaters

Be Ready for Trick-or-TreatersIf you are not supervising trick-or-treaters, make your home is ready for them. Clear your driveway, walkway, steps, porch and yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over or slip on, including leaves.

Turn on your porch light and any other outdoor lighting you have.

If you have illuminated decorations, use battery-operated lights or glow sticks instead of lighted candles. If you use plugged-in lights as part of your Halloween decorations, make sure the cords are not in walkways.

Restrain your pets. Even the best-behaved pet can be startled by a loud group of children, and jump, bite or claw.

Hand out only store-bought, individually wrapped treats. Consider non-edible treats, like stickers and colored pencils.

Victims of Avoidable Accidents on Halloween Have Legal Rights

It is a shame that New Jersey children and adults can be injured in Halloween accidents that could have been avoided if the adults in charge had taken more care of their own actions and/or cared for the welfare of the children around them.

What many adults fail to understand is that homeowners may be held financially responsible for Halloween accidents that cause personal injury on their premises and are due to their negligence.

In such cases, the injured child (or his or her parents) or the adult has a right to pursue compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering and potentially more.

A personal injury lawsuit filed after an accident is essentially a claim for a recovery through the responsible party’s homeowners’ insurance.

Legitimately injured parties would be mistaken to forego a claim that would help them to recover the costs of doctor bills and other losses simply because the claim would name a friend or neighbor.

Typically, personal injury claims are settled through negotiations between lawyers and insurers. Going to court is rare.

However, it is necessary in most cases for the injured party to obtain legal help if they are to have a chance at obtaining a full and fair financial recovery.

The attorneys of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., wish you and your children a happy Halloween. We want you to be safe. We also want you to know that, if an accident does occur on Halloween, and you or your loved one is seriously injured, you have rights. Our attorneys and legal staff are ready to help you to protect those rights. Contact us to discuss your case.