Making Halloween Safer: Tips for Protecting Your Little Monsters
En Español (Spanish Version)


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.




RESOURCES:
American Academy of Pediatrics

Los Angeles Fire Department, Halloween Safety Tips

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Caring for Kids, The Canadian Paediatric Society


References:
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/.




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