What parents should be afraid of this Halloween

On Wednesday — Hurricane Sandy permitting — thousands of kids in Massachusetts will take to the streets in costume, ringing doorbells and holding out their sacks to collect candy. Halloween is a fun time to be a kid, but it can be a scary time to be a parent.

Parents often worry about tainted candy or child abductors lurking around on the holiday. However, a recent report from the Associated Press says that while the likelihood of these things happening is slim, parents should be worried about car accidents.

For example, while there have been no reports of a child being hurt or killed by tainted Halloween candy, there have been many instances of kids getting hit by cars while trick-or-treating, the AP report said.

In fact, between 2006 and 2010, more pedestrians under the age of 21 were killed by cars on Oct. 31 than on Oct. 30 or Nov. 1 almost each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, even these accidents are few and far between.

Even so, experts advise parents to do what they can to protect their kids by having them carry a flashlight or glowstick so they are more visible to cars. Glow-in-the-dark necklaces or reflective tape are also a good idea, as is trick-or-treating before the sun goes down, experts say.

Finally, parents are warned to avoid allowing their kids to wear billowy costumes, which could easily catch fire around an open flame. While this is a smart precaution to take, the AP reported that ”there is no localized spike in reported fire injuries around Halloween,” according to a spokesman from the National Fire Protection Association.

Source: Boston Globe, “Halloween risks: Cars, sports (not tainted candy),” Beth J. Harpaz, Oct. 17, 2012