A Festive Fall Safety Guide

Stay healthy and safe this season with these tips and resources.

Reviewed by: Alefiyah Malbari, MD
Written by: Kaylee Fang

A woman lifts her child in the air in a pumpkin patch while her smiling husband holds their other child.

It’s the thrill of the year filled with visiting corn mazes and eating delicious treats! While you continue to plan fall festivities, be sure to follow health and safety guidelines. Alefiyah Malbari, MD, a board-certified general pediatrician and the Chief of Dell Children’s Medical Group Pediatrics Mueller, a clinical partnership between Dell Children’s Medical Center and UT Health Austin, shares best practices to follow when you and your loved ones are out and about this fall season.

Decorating for Fall

Before you hang those decorations, be mindful of where you place them. Choose nonflammable or flame-resistant decorations for inside and outside your home. For floor decorations, make sure you’re placing them in areas where there is less foot traffic. When you’re expecting visitors, ensure there’s no tripping hazard. If you are choosing to use electric cords to light certain decorations, have the cords out of the way. Tablecloths are used often, but many tend to overlook the fact that if they’re too long it could be a tripping hazard. When decorating for celebrations, you may tend to keep the lights darker to create a spooky effect. Remember not to have your place so dark, where others have trouble seeing.

“If you have young children in the house, ensure they have safe spaces to be in. Whether that’s better lit areas or separate rooms, it’s important to make sure there are safe environments in your home, free of any obvious obstacles during your holiday celebrations,” recommends Dr. Malbari.

Making S’mores

A bonfire can be a festive fall outdoor activity, but you should be extremely careful. Children may not always understand how close or far they should be from the fire, so adults must be present at all times. Consider gathering in small groups around the firepit so everyone can be monitored appropriately.

“In general, have less than 10 people around a firepit. If you can have one adult to one kid, then you can really ensure the adult is focusing on the safety of that child,” advises Dr. Malbari.

Help your child with each step of creating those crispy treats around the bonfire. Make sure you’re the one who roasts anything toward the fire. Your child can still join in on the fun by having them put the marshmallow on the stick and assemble the s’more together.

“A good rule of thumb is to have a source of water nearby. Therefore, if anything happens you can put out the fire immediately,” recommends Dr. Malbari.

Visiting a Corn Maze

If visiting a corn maze is on your bucket list this fall, make sure you and your loved ones are prepared. Corn mazes can be very disorienting, especially for children.

“Have a buddy system where an adult can keep an eye on a child. Ideally, the child should be holding that adult’s hand for the entire time,” advises Dr. Malbari.

Warn your child that it’s going to be fun, but there might be some scary elements. Remind your child that none of the effects or props are real. Going in the daytime may result in a less scary experience than going at night.

Participating in Farm or Harvest Celebrations

There can be large crowds during fall or harvest celebrations. So, create a safety plan with your loved ones. Know the layout of the area before you go or have a map on hand. Try to keep your child in sight and know where everyone is at all times. In case someone gets lost, have a designated meeting place.

Cooler weather is approaching once fall hits. Check the temperature during the time you plan to be outdoors. Make sure to dress appropriately to stay warm. Consider layering up with sweaters and jackets. So, if temperatures go up or down throughout the day, you can put on or remove layers to feel more comfortable. Plan accordingly with the weather since it may rain more. Remember to pack an umbrella with you. If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain and can postpone your trip, wait until the weather improves. Avoid driving in wet conditions when it’s not necessary.

Make the most of your fall celebrations with flexibility and patience. Have a backup plan to move activities indoors. Stay calm if something doesn’t go planned. Also, don’t forget to have fun after all the preparation. You and your loved ones may create some family traditions to look forward to each year.

About the Partnership Between UT Health Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center

The collaboration between UT Health Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center brings together medical professionals, medical school learners, and researchers who are all part of the integrated mission of transforming healthcare delivery and redesigning the academic health environment to better serve society. This collaboration allows highly specialized providers who are at the forefront of the latest research, diagnostic, and technological developments to build an integrated system of care that is a collaborative resource for clinicians and their patients.

About UT Health Austin

UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you — in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment here.