Keep Kids Safe This Halloween with Advice from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

October 17, 2016

The injury prevention experts at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC are offering tips for families to make sure all of our princesses and superheroes, young and old, enjoy the holiday and gather treats safely this year.

Drivers need to be on heightened alert for kids trick-or-treating during the day and evening hours, as vehicles pose one of the greatest dangers during the holiday. On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by cars and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

“Kids are always eager on Halloween to walk with friends from house to house and get lots of treats, so they are less likely to pay attention to traffic,” said Barbara Gaines, M.D., director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital. “We ask parents to speak with their children about pedestrian safety and other Halloween safety precautions before they go out trick-or-treating.”

Parents need to supervise younger children while they are trick-or-treating, stay in neighborhoods close to home, use flashlights, and use safe pedestrian behaviors themselves as a good example to children. Some older kids don’t need parental supervision, but they need to venture out in groups, and never alone.

Parents and kids also should be mindful when choosing a costume, which should be made of fire-resistant material, brightly colored, and should not be a tripping hazard. If a costume is dark colored, add reflective tape so the trick-or-treater can be seen by drivers. Instead of masks, non-toxic face paint is a good alternative.

Children’s also offers some additional safety tips for parents during Halloween:

  • Instruct children not to eat any treats until they can be checked by an adult.
  • Keep your home well-lit for trick-or-treaters and clear walkways and pathways around your home.
  • Respect the designated trick-or-treating times in your neighborhood—whether it be during the weekend or on Monday, Oct. 31.

For more information and safety tips for the Halloween holiday, please visit