Tuesday could be a wet one for trick-or-treating. Hopefully, the rain will hold off until after 9 p.m. and not soak our Halloween fun.
If we are able to head out, keep these safety tips in mind.
Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Avni Shah, Baylor Scott & White pediatrician, and Dr. Julie Alonso-Katzowitz, a Seton child and adolescent psychiatrist:
- 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. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.
- 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 long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
- Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
Home safety for trick-0r-treaters:
- 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.
- Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- 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.
- Talk to kids who might be scared about the idea that people are in costumes — that there are real people underneath. Go earlier in the night when the streets will be filled with younger kids who are less likely to be in scary costumes.
- If kids are scared, only choose homes without scary decorations and don’t force them to trick-or-treat. You can also arrange to only go to a few known houses and call it done.
- 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.
- Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Carry a cellphone 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 and weeks following Halloween.
Here are a couple of safety tips for California Poison Control:
- Glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks are used by parents to keep their children visible while trick-or-treating in the dark. Children may break open these glow sticks getting the liquid on their hands and in their mouths. The liquid can be mildly irritating to the skin or eyes but is not likely to cause harm if a small amount is ingested.
- Children should not eat treats until they return home and all items have been inspected by an adult.
- Limit the amount of candy ingested at one time. Too much candy can cause stomach discomfort, and sugars and other sweeteners can act as laxatives when consumed in large amounts.
- If a child brings home a brand of candy that is not familiar, throw it away. Some imported candies have high levels of lead that can be harmful.
- Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded immediately.
- Fruit treats should be washed and cut open before being eaten.
- Homemade treats should be discarded unless the individuals who prepared them are well known and trusted.
- Little pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.
- Torn, loose, or punctured wrapping may be a sign of tampering. Tampering should be reported to local police.
- Some Halloween makeup contains lead as do many regular cosmetics. Check www.safecosmetics.org for safe makeup to use on children.