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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.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org

    Los Angeles Fire Department, Halloween Safety Tips http://www.lafd.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Caring for Kids, The Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/

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

    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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