Halloween is almost here. Kids are conjuring up costume ideas. Parents are planning parties. If you are a mom or dad orchestrating the activities, take a moment to add safety to the mix. The following tips from Rosalind Dockweiler, MD, could help protect your kids, so a holiday devoted to make-believe doesn’t turn into something really scary.
Be careful with costumes
- Make sure your child’s costume has the right fit so they don’t trip and fall.
- Avoid costumes with masks because they limit visibility, increasing the likelihood of falls or traffic accidents. Instead use face paints to create a finished look.
- If your child is carrying a prop, such as a sword or pitchfork, make sure the item can be easily identified as fake and that any points or sharp edges are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury.
- Make sure the costume is fire retardant.
Avoid trouble trick-or-treating
- Give your child a flashlight or glow stick to carry while out at night. On dark-colored costumes, use reflective tape so drivers can see your child at dusk or night.
- For older children, establish a return time.
- Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
Keep a close eye on candy consumption
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Examine all treats for potential choking hazards and tampering before children begin snacking.
- Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Limit the amount of treats your child eats. Treating your kids to a spooky Halloween dinner will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before you have a chance to check it for them.
Carve pumpkins with caution
- Kids always want to help with the pumpkin carving. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face. Many store-bought kits include kid-friendly knives.
- It’s best to let younger kids clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can carve for them. Use paints, glitter and gems to decorate your pumpkin.
- If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles in them, make sure that they are placed away from the walkway so kids' costumes don’t catch fire.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!