Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, is sharing tips for parents and caregivers to consider to keep children safe and protected while trick-or-treating this Halloween.
Halloween is a night to dress up as a favorite character, have fun with friends, and collect free candy for children. But for parents, Halloween can be a night filled with grave safety concerns.
“Not only do parents have to worry about usual safety concerns while their children are out trick-or-treating, but there is also the added component of dealing with another Halloween season amid COVID-19,” said Beverly Hutchison, Executive Director of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “We want to be able to provide parents with resources to keep their children safe from harm but also still allow them to enjoy a night of trick-or-treating after all of the uncertainty and changes they have had to go through over the past two years.”
Dee Norton recommends the following tips to keep children safe while putting the parent’s mind at ease this Halloween.
If your child is younger than age 12:
- Volunteer to be a chaperone for your group of trick-or-treaters.
- If you don’t plan on supervising this year, make sure there is a responsible, trusted adult who will be with the group at all times and knows your rules.
- Make sure your child knows what to do if they get lost: find a safe place with a trusted adult and call home. If they are in an unsafe situation or an emergency, contact 911.
- If possible, start trick-or-treating while it is still light outside. If it’s dark, bring along a flashlight with fresh batteries.
If your child is mature enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision:
- Plan a safe, well-lit route together your child is familiar with.
- Review the agreed route several times before your child heads out for the night.
- Agree on a specific time your child will return home.
- Review key safety rules together, including:
- Staying with the group
- Walking on the sidewalk
- Only approach well-lit homes
- Never going inside of a stranger’s home or car
- Not taking shortcuts through backyards, alleys or fields
- If your child owns a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged before they leave.
- If you live in a rural area, offer to give all the kids a ride in the car.
Staying safe while trick-or-treating during COVID-19:
- Limit group size to a few of your child’s close friends or siblings
- Make sure both you and your child wears masks, especially when approaching a home and receiving candy
- Limit houses your child visits to just a few close neighbors
- Practice good hand hygiene and make sure your child washes their hands between houses and when they return home
- Be smart! If you or your child is feeling sick stay home and do not hand out candy.
Dee Norton currently serves children and families at its 1061 King Street location and the 677 Long Point location in Mt. Pleasant. To learn more about how you can help prevent child abuse, visit www.deenortoncenter.org.
About Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families. Primary services include forensic interviews, medical examinations and mental health assessments, as well as immediate support and coordination. The center also provides evidence-based therapy to child victims and their families. For more information, visit www.deenortoncenter.org.