Expert advice on Halloween’s dangers

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than half of Americans will celebrate Halloween this year

The heat wave and sizzling temperatures across the US this summer prompted some people to avoid hitting the grass or staying outside this Halloween.

But it’s not going to be a welcome change this year for everyone, says NHS Guidelines’ toxicology professor Jackie Rowell.

“Not everyone likes to stay outside, particularly for a while, but the heat is still quite dangerous,” she tells BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours.

Halloween is actually one of the safest times to be outside, but in the summer, think twice about walking outside for as long as an hour without a full tank of water – and drink water on the way home.

Otherwise you could be exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals, said Prof Rowell.

Tips for people who have to enjoy the outdoors this Halloween/ Thanksgiving season

Halloween cuddles, far more effective than Hallow, while eating sugary foods too quickly is always a good way to find yourself feeling hungry and grumpy. As a final tip, go for a walk in the early morning (even though it may be chilly and you might not get out quickly) to destress and just chill out.

It’s also not a good idea to go the toilet outside when you are feeling a bit queasy, or when you are not being particularly careful with your walking shoes – the ground can be very slippery and you may be slipping if you wear shoes that are too light or too thick.

And if you fall and injure yourself, don’t get too aggressive, and instead offer first aid in some way – something very basic like pouring ice water over your wound and having a blanket ready to cover you.

The advice was all the more important this year, as police and ambulance crews across the US faced a rise in the number of people knocking over and injuring themselves while outside, particularly because, due to the extreme heat, people were staying out longer than normal.

“In a normal year we have more people going out dancing at late night,” said Mark Wagoner, former Marine and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Commissioner.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Parents should make sure they know where their children are being dropped off and picked up

Last week’s California wildfires had turned the vast landscape – home to California’s famous wine industry – into a tinderbox and experienced firefighters believe these fires could continue to burn for weeks.

Mr Wagoner told the programme: “That’s not happening again this year, it’s just too dangerous. We urge everyone not to go out for another three weeks – as we’ve been saying, it doesn’t matter if you’re having a pleasant evening, or walking your dog, drinking, or having coffee, or going to see a movie – please keep your head down.”

Despite the danger, the Halloween/ Thanksgiving season is still a popular time to enjoy getting out for some outdoorsy fun.

Nearly half of Americans say it’s one of their top three social activities, according to a survey from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

But how can parents manage their kids’ interest in being out in the open?

The first line of defence is making sure kids know where their parents are, and making sure the family’s cellphone is in use.

Children in the study that surveyed 2,000 US adults and kids over seven years old, found that one in five had to ring or text a parent to get a child off the streets, while 45% called, 11% texted and 9% used a phone app to get their child home.

That suggests you need to have a quick and easy conversation with your kids about the dangers out there.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Children should have conversations with their parents about the risks out there

Then you need to give the kids a choice – asking them what they want to do.

Chances are they are probably not interested in driving around in their toy car on city streets, so you can introduce that choice before they’ve been let out.

But they could opt to go to the local park or playground, or they might be more interested in going to the river, riverbank or the beach.

Research has found that children are more likely to listen to their parents when it comes to choosing where to be – instead of making their own decisions and taking risks – and this could also be a great opportunity to reintroduce things they are more used to.

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