Boo to Halloween Safety Nightmares
It seems like only last year that I was
teaching you a few safety tricks so that Halloween could be a treat for you and
your children. Well, here we are a year
later, and many of you are asking me for a few more hints so that Halloween is
not a safety nightmare for anyone.
First it is
important to know that while people always worry about the safety of the treats
your children bring home, the most serious injuries on Halloween involve eye
injuries from carrying sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes, and
injuries from collisions with cars. If
you want to prevent these from happening, here are some tips:
- If you are a trick-or-treater, remember to
see and be seen. Avoid masks which can block your vision, replacing them with
non-toxic hypoallergenic face paint or make-up. Wear brightly colored non-baggy
or long flame-resistant costumes with reflective tape. Carry a flashlight, stay
on the sidewalk, and approach only houses that are lit in the neighborhood you
are familiar with. Wearing a necklace
that glows in the dark can also help.
- If you are the parents of a trick-or-treater,
make sure your children are well-fed before they go out so you can inspect what
they bring home before they want to eat it.
My motto in this case is “when in doubt, throw it out!” Even though tampering with Halloween treats
is rare, it can still happen.
children under 10, and review the route with older children (who should be
traveling in groups) and give them a time to be home. Giving older children a cell phone to borrow
for the evening if you can do that is also a good idea so they can reach you
and you can reach them. Remember that
the smaller the trick-or-treat bag, the shorter the distance traveled.
- If your child is overweight, consider buying
back their candy stash from them by trading it for a family weekend activity
that they would enjoy in exchange. Another good idea is to not have your
children eat all their candy at once or in the first few days after Halloween. Allow them one or two pieces a day instead of
leaving it out for sampling at will. Parents,
you need to be good role models and eat the Halloween candy in moderation
- If you are a home that will be giving out
treats, make sure your yard is clear of debris such as hoses, wet leaves, or
flower pots that can trip a child. Keep
lit pumpkins far out of the way of trick-or-treaters or consider using a
battery or electric candle inside rather than a real lit candle. Don’t forget small hard candies can be a
choking hazard for little ones.
Hopefully tips like
this will scare away any concerns you might have when it comes to making sure
your Halloween is a safe one.
First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher
Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University
of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids"
weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with
Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids