October 24, 2008

Keeping Kids and Your Family Safe During Halloween

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and 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.

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 to:

· 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. 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.

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.

· Parents should 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.

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.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

· 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.

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