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article imageSafety tips for your children on Halloween

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 25, 2015 in Health
Halloween falls on Saturday night this year, and that leaves us with an entire weekend to celebrate ghosts and goblins. One thing that does not change each year is the need to give some thought to your child's safety at Halloween.
Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics publishes a press release on Halloween safety tips for children. The advice is basic but timely and these tips should help your children enjoy trick-or-treating in a safe environment.
The AAP breaks down its advice in five categories: 'All Dressed Up', 'Carving a Niche', 'Home Safe Home', 'On the Trick or Treat Trail' and 'Happy Halloween.'
Dressing for Halloween
Make sure your kids' costumes are bright and reflective so drivers can easily see them (add reflective tape to darker costumes). Costumes should be short to prevent tripping or getting stuck on something and prevent them from coming in contact with flame. Make certain that shoes fit and costumes do not block vision.
Use non-toxic make-up and pick flame resistant costumes. Check that your pirate's sword is neither sharp nor, to prevent stumbling, too long. Same with canes and other props.
Carving a Niche
Children should not partake in the actual carving of the pumpkin. You could turn away in a moment of distraction and an injury could result. Have them draw the faces etc. with markers.
Flashlights or glow sticks are the best choices to light your pumpkin but if you use a candle make it a votive candle.
Place pumpkins that have candles inside them on a sturdy table and away from curtains and other flammable objects. When you go out, remember to blow all of those candles out.
Home Safe Home
The AAP suggests checking your porch and any part of the yard that trick or treaters will use. Remove garden hoses, toys, bikes, lawn decorations, anything kids might trip over. Sweep leaves off your sidewalk and steps and make certain surfaces are not slippery.
Restrain pets that might jump up on or bite a child. Many pets are happier to spend Halloween inside and away from all the noise anyway.
On the Trick or Treat Trail
An adult should be with trick or treaters and consider giving each child a flashlight. For older children going out together and without an adult, plan a route and agree on times for them to check-in and to arrive home. Older kids should also have a flashlight and, if possible, a cell phone. Remind all your kids to only go to homes with a porch light on and to never go inside a home or car to get a treat.
The most common injuries to trick or treaters are from motor vehicles so go over safety around cars. Adults sticking by the younger ones need to be extra vigilante when kids are crossing streets or walking near cars. Cross streets as a group, avoid alleyways and don't walk in between parked cars. Use sidewalks and face traffic.
Do not assume the right of way and do remember that motorists may have trouble seeing trick or treaters. And just because one car stops it doesn't mean the next one will. There's a lot going on so err on the side of slowness and caution.
Having a Healthy Halloween
Tampering is rare but it does happen so check your child's candy before letting them dig in. Throw out spoiled or unwrapped items and anything that looks suspicious.
Many parents don't allow kids to keep fruit because fruit is easily tampered with and there have been instances of razor blades in apples, etc.. Arguably a nice idea of people to give fruit but probably best not to let your child have it. They won't be too disappointed!
The bottom line is that all of us, kids and adults, deserve a fun and accident-free night of celebration at Halloween so take a little time to ensure that's exactly what your family gets. And have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
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