Halloween safety ensures a good time for all

Halloween safety ensures a good time for all

Your child has probably been planning his or her Halloween costume for months. Halloween and trick-or-treat can be a lot of fun for the entire family. Putting safety first ensures a good time and prevents unnecessary accidents.

As you’re planning ahead, here are a few safety tips to get you started:

  • Get a good fit – Make sure to choose costumes that fit correctly so your little ones won’t trip or fall. Long dresses or capes that drag on the floor may be cute but not if your child ends up falling down. If using a mask, take care to check that your child can see and breathe properly. Face painting is a great alternative if you can’t find a mask that fits well. Just be sure to use washable, non-toxic paint or makeup that is safe for the skin.
  • Stay visible – Adorn your children’s costumes with reflective tape (available at most hardware stores) to make their costumes visible in the dark. Glow sticks or flashlights create more visibility to passing cars.
  • Be flame resistant – Only choose costumes that are labeled “flame resistant” in case of accidental contact with an open flame. Opt for small, safe flickering lightbulbs in your jack-o’-lanterns instead of real candles.
  • Plan a safe route – Plan your trick-or-treating ahead of time so that you can check out the neighborhoods to make sure they are safe and well-lit. Only visit homes of people you know or homes with the porch light on.
  • Set a curfew – If you are letting your older tween or teen trick-or-treat, be sure they do so in a group accompanied by an older, responsible teenager you know and trust. Discuss the route they will follow ahead of time and set a curfew for them to return home.
  • Discuss safety – Remind your children not to go inside the homes or cars of anyone for a treat. Talk with your children about always stay together as a group and never let a child or pair of children wander off on their own. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
  • Healthy Halloween – Eating a good meal prior to parties or trick-or-treating will discourage children from filling up on too much Halloween candy. Wait until you get home to sort and check candy. You should check your child’s candy to remove treats that might cause an allergic reaction, ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween and keep your child safe. Although tampering is rare, avoid homemade treats given by people you don’t know and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious item.

Trick-or-Treat Alternatives

The festivities surrounding Halloween aren’t for everyone. Masks, scary costumes and spooky decorations may be too much for some younger children. You know your child best, so be mindful of how he or she may react to Halloween-related situations.

In lieu of the traditional trick-or-treat, you might opt for one of these Halloween alternatives.

  • Plan a “not so scary” Spooktacular party – Plan a Halloween party in your own homes. Carve pumpkins, make “creepy” treats and play fun Halloween games.
  • Visit a trunk-or-treat – Keep it safe by attending a trunk-or-treat carnival at a local church or community center. Even if you feel safe among friends, always make sure to keep an eye on your kids at all times.
  • Pick a safe location – go trick-or-treating at the mall or other safe location.

For more Halloween safety tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Christopher Dewese, MD

Dr. Dewese, a board-certified pediatrician, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. He practices at our Marshall Pediatrics location in Teays Valley, W.Va.

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