Safety tips for Halloween

October 29, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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Jack-o-lanternsBoo! Halloween is here. This Saturday actually. It can be fun but also dangerous especially for little kids. Health experts therefore give us some tips (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) on how to keep our little ones happy and healthy during this fun and spooky occasion. However, the tips can apply to adults as well.

On costumes:

  • Costumes should be visible – “bright and reflective”. All the better for motorists as well as supervising adults to see.
  • Avoid costumes/shoes that can cause tripping, entanglement, or asphyxiation.
  • Masks can obscure vision. Hats shouldn’t slide over the eyes. Face faints can cause allergic reactions (check out US FDA warning in face paints below).
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.  Hats and wigs should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • Costumes, wigs and accessories should be flame resistant.  Check the labels.
  • Accessories such as a sword, cane, or stick shouldn’t be sharp, too long, or cause the child to trip.

On decorations:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins according to the AAP. They can draw the faces on the jack-o-lanterns but adults should do the cutting.halloween
  • Use votive candles for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
  • Avoid decorations that may be a fire hazard. Garlands can cause entanglement and choking.

On home safety:

  • Remove from the porch and front yard anything that trick-or-treaters could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, garbage cans, and lawn decorations. Clearly mark or temporarily fence off ponds. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves are slippery and should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets, especially dogs so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.
  • Lock up if you aren’t home at Halloween.

On the trick-or-treat trail:

  • An adult should always supervise young children on their neighborhood rounds. There is no age limit but parents should know when their kids are ready to go alone or not.
  • Use flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call somebody, be it 9-1-1, the local emergency number or their parents in case they have an emergency or become lost.
  • If older kids are going alone, plan and review the route that you feel is safe and emphasize that they should stick to the route, just in case you need to find them. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to houses with a porch light on and stay on the porch. Tell the kids never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Trick-or-treaters should stay together in a group.
  • Carry a cell phone and important numbers for quick communication.
  • Walk on the sidewalks and go on well-lit streets only. Don’t take shorts or cut across yards or use dimly lit alleys. Cross only on crosswalks.
  • Watch out for motorists.

candiesOn treats and sweets:

  • A good healthy meal before trick-or-treating will discourage kids on gorging on their booty.
  • Think about treats that can be alternative to sweets: sugar-free candies, whole grain cookies, little toys.
  • Advice kids not to eat any sweets until you’ve checked them out. Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Pay attention especially if your kids have allergies. Check out the labels for undesirable ingredients.
  • Try to ration the sweets over several days.

On face paints:

Check out what the US FDA has to say about face paints and theatrical make up:

And don’t forget to have fun!


Photo credits: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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