Written by Tammy Walro
Friday, 17 October 2008 14:16
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
All dressed up:
• Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
• Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
• Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
• When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
• If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
• Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
• Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
Carving a niche:
• Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
• Votive candles are safest 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.
Home safe home:
• To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
• Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
• Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
• Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
On the trick-or-treat trail:
• A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
• If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
• Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
• Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or treaters:
• Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
• Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
• Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
• If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
• Never cut across yards or use alleys.
• Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
• 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.
• Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
• A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
• Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
• Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
• Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.