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Keep trick-or-treaters safe on Halloween

POSTED: October 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Halloween is one of the most enjoyable holidays for adults and children alike. It's also a time for making sure children are safe — in their costumes, on the street, and while enjoying all the treats collected. The following tips will help ensure your trick-or-treaters play it safe while haunting neighborhoods and gathering goodies.

Pumpkin carving:


• Never let young children near carving tools. Non-toxic paint, stickers, and push-in lights are safe decorating alternatives. Or let your child draw the face on the pumpkin and you do the carving.
• When permitting older children to carve, always supervise closely. Work on a flat, tip-proof surface in a well-lit room.
• Don't let your child use adult kitchen knives — supply safer, kid-size tools created specifically for this purpose.
• Consider using battery operated candles, tea lights or flashlights to illuminate your decorative accents instead of candles.

Treats:


• Make sure your children understand they're not to snack on their treats while they're out trick-or-treating.
• Parents should inspect the goodies (even commercially wrapped) for any signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance, discoloration, pinholes or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
• For young children, remove hard candies as they can become choking hazards.
• Other choking hazards for younger children include gum, nuts, small toys and coins.
• If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will state it on the label.

Costumes:

• When purchasing costumes and accessories, look for "flame resistant" labels. Although this label does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate that the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source.
• Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists.
• For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape.
• To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
• Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
• Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Exaggerated footwear can result in slipping or twisting ankles while walking.
• Hats and scarves should be fitted enough to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.
• Apply a natural mask of child-safe cosmetics rather than wearing a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely, has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision, and an unobstructed breathing opening.
• Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.

Pedestrian safety:

• Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child.
• Have your trick-or-treater carry your cell phone.
• All children should walk, not run, from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street.
• Only cross the street at crosswalks and always look both ways.
• Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture or clotheslines present dangers.
• Going out in groups with several adults in attendance ensures children will be supervised.
Choosing safe houses and safety in your home:
• Children should go only to homes where they know the residents.
• Choose homes that have outside lights on as a sign of welcome.
• Homes should be well lit inside as well as out.
• Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.
• If you are expecting trick-or-treaters remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches.
• Candlelit jack-o-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
• Indoor jack-o-lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations, and other furnishings that could be ignited.
• Consider using battery operated candles, tea lights or flashlights to illuminate your decorative accents instead of candles.

 

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