Should you be worried about liability during Halloween?

On Halloween evening, your home and yard may be invaded by dozens or even hundreds of trick-or-treaters.  Sometimes homeowners find it fun to "prank" or "scare" children.  But, obviously this can lead to accidents and injuries on your property.  You and your homeowner's insurance will be responsible, even if the children come on your property willingly.

Remember, since you are giving out treats and your porch light is on, you are inviting trick-or-treaters onto your property, and therefore are responsible for their safety.  If you do not give out treats, it may be a good idea to keep your porch light off.

Craig Swapp from Craig Swapp and associates joined The PLACE with four things you should do to protect kids and limit homeowner's liability.

  1. If you're planning to prank scare, make sure the children cannot be injured by their reactions to the prank.  For example, possibly stepping back in fear and falling over decorations.
  2. Make sure your sidewalks, driveways and walkways are well lit.  Darkness can hide tripping hazards.
  3. Check for any dangerous outdoor decorations.  Power cords should not be lying around or unsecured.  Halloween decorations should not have any sharp points or edges.
  4. Put away any loose toys or bikes that could be a hazard in the dark.

If a child is injured on your property, you should seek immediate medical care for the child and notify the parents.  Also, contact your homeowners insurance carrier to notify them of a possible claim.

Craig Swapp also recommends parents take some steps to protect their kids this Halloween.  He offered '7 Tips to keep your little monsters safe'.

  • Review the rules for the night (use the buddy system, go to known homes, don't go inside unknown homes, look both ways before crossing the street)
  • Make sure every child is visible in the dark with some type of glow-in-the-dark reflective decorations
  • Teach your kids to steer clear of fire hazards such as lit jack-o-lanterns
  • Remind kids to be on the lookout for cars
  • Decide on a meeting place if a child becomes separated from the group
  • Make sure kids have a cell phone with them for emergencies
  • When they get home, check candy and throw away any unwrapped or suspicious candy

You can find more by calling Craig Swapp & Associates at 1-800-404-9000 or visiting www.craigswapp.com.

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