Halloween Safety Tips for Parentsby Danielle Haines | September 22, 2008 12:00 AM
It's that time of year again to go trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating can be an exciting and fun way for children to spend the evening on Halloween, but that also means to keep your child safe going from house to house. If you take precautions and exercise common sense, your children will have a safe and enjoyable night.
Halloween Costume Safety
- When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester, or look for the label "Flame Resistant." Flame-resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
- Have children use a flexible costume knives and swords, not ones that are rigid or sharp.
- Use bright colored clothing or add reflective tape to costumes to increase visibility.
- Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
- Costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground to guard against trips and falls.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Over-sized high heels are not a good idea.
- Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes and obstructing vision.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eye holes large enough to allow full vision.
- Flush eyes with cool water should face paint, glitter or shaving cream get into eyes.
Halloween Candy Safety
- Ask children to bring treats home before eating them so you can inspect them. Remember: small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
- Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
- If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will say so on the label.
- Call your local poison control center if you believe your child has eaten something tainted.
Halloween Decoration Safety
- Instead of candles, use battery powered lanterns or light sticks to light jack-o-lanterns.
- Do not overload outlets.
- Turn on front door light and light walkway to welcome trick-or-treaters.
- Prepare for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns and sidewalks and placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways or landings.
- When carving pumpkins: use stable, flat surfaces with good lighting; draw and follow patterns on the outside of the pumpkin instead of freehand carving; and use blunt instruments with dull serrations specially designed for pumpkin carving
Also, if you are out driving, here are some precautions to make this a night of treats and not a night a fright.
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods (drive at least five miles under the speed limit) to give yourself time to react to excited trick-or-treaters who might dart into the street, especially mid-block or from between parked cars.
- Broaden your visual scanning—look to your right and left, into front yards and onto porches.
- Watch carefully for small superheroes, vampires and goblins in dark costumes walking on the road, medians and curbs; they can be hard to see after dark.
- Use caution when exiting driveways and alleyways.
- Turn on your vehicle's headlights, even during the day. They make you more visible.
- Drive carefully over hills, around curves and approaching stop signs or cross walks.
Here are some other safety precautions to keep our kids safe.
- Establish a route in a well known neighborhood and discuss it with your kids.
- Review Halloween safety precautions with children, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Accompany children under age 12—either you, another responsible adult or an older youth.
- Choose a firm return time.
- Make sure children know their phone number and carry coins for emergency telephone calls or carry a cell phone.
- Make sure your older children are carrying ID.
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