Tips for staying safe this Halloween

Published on Thu, Oct 25, 2012
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A house on Boblett Street warns trick or treaters against the perils of coming back to ask for more candy. Houses around the town have been festively festooned with ghosts, pumpkins and cobwebs in preparation for the upcoming holiday. (Photo by Brandy Kiger)

Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for children because they can dress up in elaborate costumes and act out of character.

However, as the sun goes down and trick-or-treaters start roaming the streets of your neighborhood, there are several things to worry about as a parent or guardian. Potentially hazardous costumes or accessories, tainted candy and crossing the street at night without supervision are only a few concerns that should be addressed prior to a child leaving the house.

Children under 14 are four times more likely to be injured while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year. Because falls are the leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween, it is an important time to be extra vigilant for possible safety hazards, so that your children have a fun and safe Halloween. Keep your child safe by following these costume tips:

*Avoid costumes with excessive flowing fabric, such as capes or sleeves. Loose clothing can easily brush up against a jack-o-lantern or other open flame, causing your child’s costume to catch on fire – remind them to stop, drop and roll.
*Read labels to make sure fabrics are flame resistant.
*Make sure your child’s costume fits properly. Oversized costumes and footwear, such as clown or adult shoes, can cause your child to trip and fall. Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
*Accessorize with flexible props, such as rubber swords or knives. Inflexible props can cause serious injury in case of a fall.
*Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to their face, and make sure it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
*Make sure masks fit securely and have eyeholes large enough for full vision.
*If possible, choose a brightly colored costume that drivers can spot easily. If not, decorate the costume with reflective tape and stickers to increase your child’s visibility.

It’s also important to think about candy consumption during this decadently sweet holiday. To keep your kids from overloading on the sugary sweet stuff while out on the road going door to door, feed them dinner to prevent munching. Remind them not to eat any treats before you have a chance to examine them, and make sure they only eat homemade treats from people they know.

If you’re hosting trick-or-treaters:

*Make sure that your walkway and porch are clear and hazard-free.
*Confine your pets so they don’t escape, and make sure they are wearing a collar in case they do.
*Choose candy with nutritional value – such as dark chocolate or with nuts – to give out.
*Steer away from doling out hard candies, because they can become choking hazards for smaller children.

Article information courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta