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Making Halloween Safer: Tips for Protecting Your Little Monsters

IMAGE Monsters and aliens are not the only scary things out on October 31st. Trips and falls (or even more serious accidents) can put a damper on Halloween festivities. But a little preparation and thought can go a long way in protecting your children from harm. The following tips taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics will help you to make this Halloween a safe one for you and your family.

What to Wear: Ghosts and Ghouls and Goblins, Oh My!

  • Your child should wear costumes that are both bright and reflective. (Try adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.)
  • Make sure shoes fit well.
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.
  • Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks, which can limit or block eyesight.
  • Look for and purchase only costumes, wigs, and accessories with labels clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Do not buy costumes with small parts or strings that can choke or strangle smaller children.
  • Attach emergency identification (name, address, phone number) inside Halloween costume or on a bracelet.
  • Use flashlights with fresh batteries.
  • Have older children and adult escorts wear a wristwatch and carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.

Pumpkin Carving and Decorating

  • Don’t allow small children to carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers and then an adult or older sibling can do the carving.
  • Supervise children ages 5-10 and have them carve with pumpkin cutters equipped with safety bars.
  • Use small votive candles for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Place lighted pumpkins on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects.
  • Never leave lit pumpkins unattended.

Decorating Safety Tips For Your “Haunted House”

  • Remove anything a child could trip over (garden hoses, toys, bikes, lawn decorations, etc.).
  • Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Sweep wet leaves away from sidewalks and steps.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Don’t overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.

The Tricks to Eating Healthy and Safely During Halloween

  • Have you child eat a good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating. This will discourage the youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Instead of candy, consider giving away non-food treats (eg, pens, pencils, stickers, etc.).
  • Once your children get home, sort and check treats carefully and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
  • Try to portion treats for the days following Halloween.
  • Encourage sharing, but make sure items that can cause choking (like hard candies) are given only to those of an appropriate age.

The Trick-or-Treater Checklist

Remind your children that it’s important to:

  • Use a flashlight so they can see and be seen by others.
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk across a street—never run.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway, or alley.
  • Follow the planned route and return home at the agreed upon time.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops doesn’t mean others will.
  • Never eat or drink unwrapped food items that may be offered.
  • Notify police or other law enforcement authorities if you see any suspicious or unlawful activities.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

    http://www.aap.org

  • Los Angeles Fire Department, Halloween Safety Tips

    http://www.lafd.org/

  • Caring for Kids, The Canadian Paediatric Society

    http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html

  • American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/octhalloween.cfm. Accessed June 22, 2010.

  • National Safety Council website. Available at: http://www.nsc.org/.