A Festive Fall Safety Guide
Tips for staying healthy and safe this fall season
Reviewed by: Alefiyah Malbari, MD
Written by: Kaylee Fang
It’s one of the most exciting time of the year, filled with visits to corn mazes and indulging in delicious treats! As you continue to plan your fall festivities, it’s crucial to prioritize health and safety.
UT Health Austin pediatrician Alefiyah Malbari, MD, who serves as 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 start hanging decorations, be mindful of where you place them. Choose nonflammable or flame-resistant decorations for both the interior and exterior of your home. For floor decorations, ensure they are placed in areas with less foot traffic to avoid tripping hazards. If you’re expecting guests, make sure there are no obstacles in their way. When using electric cords for decoration lighting, keep them out of high-traffic areas. Tablecloths are commonly used and often overlooked as potential tripping hazards, which is especially true if they are too long. While creating a spooky ambiance with dim lighting can be enticing, ensure that your home is adequately lit, so everyone can see clearly.
“If you have young children in the house, ensure they have safe spaces to play in, whether that’s well-lit areas or separate rooms,” advises Dr. Malbari. “It’s important to make sure your home provides a safe environment, free of obvious obstacles during your holiday celebrations.”
Making S’mores by the Bonfire
A bonfire is a great outdoor activity for fall, but safety is paramount. Children may not fully understand the dangers of fire, so it’s essential for adults to supervise at all times. Consider gathering in small groups around the firepit to ensure proper monitoring.
“In general, it’s best to have fewer than 10 people around a firepit,” says Dr. Malbari. “If you can maintain a one-on-one ratio of adults to children, you can ensure the safety of each child.”
Help your child with each step of making s’mores around the bonfire. Take charge of roasting the marshmallows over the fire. Your child can still join in on the fun by placing the marshmallow on the stick and helping assembling the s’more.
“A good rule of thumb is to have a source of water nearby,” shares Dr. Malbari. “This way, you can immediately extinguish any fire-related accidents.”
Visiting a Corn Maze
If visiting a corn maze is on your bucket list this fall, make sure you and your loved ones take precautions. Corn mazes can be very disorienting, especially for children.
“Implement a buddy system where an adult can keep a close eye on a child,” suggests Dr. Malbari. “Ideally, the child should be holding that adult’s hand the entire time.”
Prepare your child for the experience, explaining that it will be fun but may include some spooky elements. Remind them that the effects or props are not real. Opting for a daytime visit might make the experience more enjoyable than going at night.
Participating in Farm or Harvest Celebrations
“Large crowds often gather during fall or harvest celebrations, so it’s wise to create a safety plan with your loved ones,” advises Dr. Malbari. “Familiarize yourself with the layout of the area or have a map on hand, keep a close watch on your child and ensure you know where everyone in your family is at all times, and establish a designated meeting place in case someone gets separated.”
As cooler weather approaches in the fall, check the temperature if you plan to be outdoors and dress appropriately to stay warm. Layer up with sweaters and jackets so you can adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. Be prepared for possible rain by packing an umbrella. If driving in the rain makes you uncomfortable and your trip can be postponed, wait until the weather conditions improve before heading out.
To make the most of your fall celebrations, stay flexible and be patient. Have a backup plan for moving activities indoors if needed. Remain calm if things don’t go as planned and, most importantly, remember to have fun. You and your loved ones can create lasting family traditions to look forward to each year. Enjoy your fall season to the fullest!