Apps for Safer Trick or Treating
By Tracey Dowdy
Tis the season! No, not Christmas, though if you’ve been in WalMart or Target lately there’s plenty of Christmas décor to confuse you. Halloween is nearly here and with it comes all the cautionary tales of Halloween Past. When I was a kid it was razor blades in apples, now it seems we’ve moved on to fears of drug-laced candy.
Of course, parents should exercise caution at Halloween – at what other time do we encourage children to accept candy from strangers? – particularly if your child has food allergies or sensitivities.
These apps can help ensure your little goblins have a safe and happy Halloween.
The First Aid: American Red Cross app features videos, interactive quizzes, with easy to understand step-by-step advice for all kinds of medical emergencies including allergies and anaphylaxis, so you can feel better prepared in the event of an emergency. The app is fully integrated with 911, so you can contact emergency services directly through the app. Free – iOS/Android
Spokin is a food allergy app that provides you with allergen related resources customized to your family’s food allergies, location, and experience. Protect your child from accidental exposure through Spokin’s hidden allergen feature or find answers to your questions, and even follow another user with the same food allergies and taste. Free – iOS
Google Maps lets you keep track of your child’s location in real-time or use it to access the location of a parent or chaperone who might be with them. You need at least two smartphones (or a tablet with cellular) with the Google Maps app downloaded and location sharing activated – one for you and one that goes with the trick-or-treaters. Once downloaded on both devices, open “Location Sharing” on the left-hand side menu on the app. Free – iOS/Android
Life360 allows you to set up a trick-or-treat route with your children and as they reach the next zone on the map, you receive a notification on your smartphone. The apps also share the phone’s battery life, so you’ll know if the phone did die, or if they turned it off to do a second round of trick or treating. Free – iOS/Android
For many of us, it’s impossible to know all your neighbors. The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have sex offender registries that connect all U.S. state, tribal, and territory websites so that citizens can search for the identities and locations of known sex offenders.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.