Do your best to make this a safe Halloween. Thinking about safety in advance will make all the difference! Here are some tips that can help your child have a safe Halloween:
MAKING YOUR HOME SAFE FOR TRICK OR TREATERS:
- To keep your home safe for visiting trick or treaters, remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Check that the outdoor lights work and replace burned-out bulbs if necessary.
- Wet leaves can be quite slippery. So they should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Remind all neighborhood drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
- Don’t leave your pets outside on Halloween as they can either get accidentally injured or they may attack one of the children who are trick or treating at your door.
PUMPKINS AND OTHER DECORATIONS:
- Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, then parents can do the cutting. Under parental supervision, children ages 5 to 10 can carve with pumpkin cutters equipped with safety bars.
- Lighted pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects.
- Halloween candles (like in Jack-O-Lanterns) should not be left lit at home unattended while you are out trick or treating. Battery powered lights can safely do the trick instead.
- Make sure that Jack-O-Lanterns with candles in them on the porch are far enough from children so they won’t accidentally trip or even so that their costumes won’t be accidentally set on fire.
- The Halloween costume and accessories should be safe and should not be flammable(it should be flame repellant). Also make sure that the costume is not too long as a child can easily trip on it.
- Do not wear high heeled shoes as this can cause a child to more easily trip.
- Avoid dark Halloween costumes as your young trick or treaters need to be fully visible in the dark. Bright costumes are better.
- Carrying fluorescent bags, wearing glow in the dark stickers and reflective material or tape will help make your child more visible in the dark. Bringing along a flash-light is helpful too.
- Halloween masks can prevent a child from seeing well and this can be quite dangerous, especially at night when it is dark to begin with. Creative, non-toxic make up is better.
- When carrying “accessories” such as a plastic sword, or fork make sure that they are made of soft plastic, bend easily and are not dangerously sharp.
WHEN TRICK OR TREATING:
- Plan and review with your children the route which is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time to return home. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
- Trick or treaters should use a flashlight(with fresh batteries), so that they can see and be seen by others. They also should never cut across yards or shoulders. Remember to always walk and never run across a street.
- Children should be accompanied by an adult and only visit familiar homes and they should be instructed to never enter into a house they are trick or treating at and to avoid dark or deserted looking homes.
- Teach your children to stay away from strangers, to refuse to approach or climb inside cars and to stay away from stray animals.
- Be careful of moving cars and obey traffic lights. Stay on one side of the street at a time; When you have finished trick or treating on one side of the street, then carefully cross and do the other side. You should not be criss-crossing back and forth across a street.
- Try to portion treats for the days following Halloween.
- Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
- Parents with children who have food allergies should be extra careful that their kids do not eat any of the treats until checked by them.
- Also, never leave your child’s loot bag unattended.
- Remember to instruct your children not to eat any of the Halloween treats they collect before an adult has inspected them. If anything is not wrapped, looks suspicious, torn, opened or tampered with, throw it away. Eat homemade treats only if you know the giver.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.