We all love costumes, Halloween and especially Trick-or-Treating! After all, it's a lot of fun, not only for children but also for adults. That said, we want to remind everyone safety should be top of mind - particularly for parents. Below we've assembled some helpful tips which we recommend reviewing. We want everyone to have both a safe and enjoyable Halloween!
TRICK OR TREATING TIPS
Everybody knows Trick-or-Treating is FUN, but here are some helpful tips for keeping it safe too.
1. Trick or treat in a group, or with your parents!
2. Wear reflective strips or light-colored clothes. Or carry a glow stick or flashlight.
3. Only go to houses with lights on.
4. If your costume includes a mask, make sure the eyes are big enough so you can see.
5. Keep your pets inside, so nobody plays nasty tricks on them!
6. Have a parent check all your candy before you eat any of it.
7. Don't eat candy that isn't in it's original wrapper.
8. Make sure your costume isn't so long that you trip over it!
9. Be careful crossing streets. Follow all the regular rules!
10. Don't accept rides, even if the next house seems far away!
11. Don't go inside anybody's house. Stay on the porch to get your candy.
Have fun, be safe, and get lots and lots of candy!
Wearing a costume is fun. There’s no denying it. But it’s important to make sure your costume or your child's costume is safe! Think of these five things….
- Make sure your costume fits. If any fabric is in the way of your feet, make sure to trim it, pin it or hem it!
- Check the label! Most costumes are flame resistant or flame retardant. Be sure you know – especially if you’ll be near lit jack-o-lanterns.
- Shoes can be important to your costume look. Try to get shoes that fit. If you do wear costume shoes that are too big, be sure that you are careful where you walk.
- Any “weapons” that you wear with your costume should be soft or flexible. If not, be careful around others!
- Masks are great, but if you cannot see properly – make the eyeholes bigger!! It’s your mask – make it work for you. Otherwise, consider some basic costume makeup. It’ll look great and you’ll be able to see around you!!
SMALL PARTS - CHOKING HAZARD SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
We'd like to remind parents that your child's safety begins at home. Unfortunately, choking, one of the biggest child safety hazards often doesn't get much attention. That may be why choking continues to be one of the leading causes of death for children under age four or five. This includes choking on food and non-food items. We strongly encourage parents of young children to be on the look-out for any smart parts -- including small foods such as popcorn, hard candy, nuts and chewy foods all of which are popular food items given out on Halloween. Additionally, parents should be aware that some costumes and accessories have small components which may be a choking hazard to young children -- including the plastic packaging the costume is delivered in. While the manufacturers of these costumes include warning labels on the packaging, these labels can be over-looked. Also, in some cases, a small piece such as a button may become separated from the costume which could cause a choking hazard for a young child. We urge parents of young children to make sure they are purchasing age appropriate merchandise and even then, carefully examining the merchandise upon receipt to ensure there are not any loose items that may be a potential hazard.
Choking Prevention (taken from http://pediatrics.about.com/od/safety/a/109_choking.htm)
Young children put almost everything in their mouth, which makes the main goal of choking prevention to keep any small items that your child might choke on out of his/her mouth. This may mean occasionally getting on all fours and checking under the kitchen table and other furniture and behind coach cushions. In addition to regularly checking the floor, your car, and other areas where your child crawls, walks, and plays, other steps to keep kids safe from choking include that you:
- learn CPR and keep emergency numbers by the phone
- learn the Heimlich maneuver
- keep medications and vitamins out of reach in child resistant containers
- childproof cabinets and drawers so that your kids can't get to small items inside them
- supervise kids when they are eating
- cut foods, like grapes and hot dogs, into small, one-half inch pieces
- avoid foods that are not age appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, like chewing gum, hard candy, and nuts until they are at least four years old
- don't let your kids play with toys that are not recommended for their age, since they may have small parts and could be a choking hazard
- keep your older kids toys out of reach of younger siblings
- regularly inspect toys to make sure that parts aren't going to break off and throw out any broken toys
- supervise kids under age eight if they are playing with a balloon, keep uninflated balloons out of reach, and throw away balloons once they deflate or break
- see your pediatrician if your child seems to have an episode of choking, recovers, but then develops a chronic cough, since that can be a sign that your child aspirated the item and it is still in his lung
PET SAFETY AT HALLOWEEN
If you choose to dress up your pet, keep a few things in mind to make sure that they have fun, too.
- Pet costumes are only intended for short-term use. Time for a picture or to show off your Halloween pooch. DO NOT force a pet to wear a costume for long periods of time!!
- NEVER let a strap or tie obstruct your pet’s breathing or cause them to choke! Keep things loose so they can breath comfortably.
- NEVER leave a costumed pet unattended. They can’t tell you that they’ve become tangled or that a strap is too tight. If your pet is in costume, you need to stay with them until you remove it.
- LET THE DOG WALK!! If a costume is in the way of your pet’s feet, modify it. Make sure that your pet can move around. They’ll be less annoyed and look even cuter.
- If they hate it – TAKE IT OFF! Don’t cause a pet stress by making them wear a costume they hate. They’re cuter when they’re happy. So try again some other time.
Other Pet Safety Tips for Halloween
Even if you don't dress your pet in a costume, here are some tips to keep your pets happy on Halloween.
- Leaving your pets outside on Halloween is not a good idea. There are plenty of tales of malicious people who tease, injure, steal, torture, even killed peoples pets on Halloween. Not to mention that dogs and cats can scare easily with all the trick-or-treaters coming to your house.
- Even though your dog or cay may beg for some of your Halloween candy, it is important to remember that chocolate is deadly to them in any amount. Do not feed a dog or cat chocolate.
- Wrappers such as tin foil can get stuck in your pets digestive tract and make them ill, or even cause death.
- Some dogs have powerful tails especially when they're excited and wagging it all over the place. Don't leave any lighted candels or even Jack-O-Lanterns where they could be knocked over by a dog's tail or curious cat.
- If you are having a indoor party, make sure you put your pet in a room where they won't be disturbed. Unless your pet is ultra friendly and doesn't mind loud noises, music and lots of people you should keep them separate for the night. Also, be careful your pet doesn't dart out through the open door as you hand out candy. It's a good idea to put them in a room with some food and water for the night - just be sure to check on them once in a while to let them know everything is fine.
HALLOWEEN & TRICK-OR-TREATING DRIVING SAFETY
Many ghosts and goblins will be roaming the neighborhoods on Halloween night. The children are excited for trick or treating and are not really paying attention to where they are running but where the next house is that has candy. Fatal accidents between vehicles and children under 15 years of age frequently happen between 4 p. m. and 8 p.m. which is the same time for trick or treating. Most of these accidents happen from children darting out from between parked cars to run across the street. If you have to drive on Halloween night, take precautions to make it a safer trip for you and for the little monsters and witches going door to door.
- Take extra care when driving through intersections. Many children will be running while crossing at intersections and they may not pay attention to traffic.
- Don’t use a cell phone while in the trick or treating neighborhoods. Do not do anything that will distract you from driving safely. This includes not adjusting the radio or replacing a CD.
- Drive below the posted speed limit during trick or treating hours. It is better to be safe than sorry. Getting somewhere is never as important as taking time to be safe.
- Make note when the neighborhood is having trick or treating time. Try to make the trip before or after the festivities.
- Be patient. Do not pass cars that have stopped on the road. They may be dropping off ghosts and goblins to go trick or treating.
- Do not assume pedestrians will yield to your car. Not just the children, but adults may not be paying attention to the cars and may not be familiar with the roadways.
- Be aware of children on bicycles. Not only will children be on foot but they may be traveling to different neighborhoods on a bicycle. This will require the driver to have faster reflexes because of their speed.
- Use high-beam headlights for greater visibility.
- Watch the sidewalks as well as the road. Children will be everywhere on Halloween night.
- Always give pedestrians the right of way!
HALLOWEEN SAFETY AT HOME
There is so much fun to be had during the Halloween season. Trick or treating, wearing costumes, decorating the house for haunting and festive parties just to name a few. Kids and adults alike enjoy Halloween and there is much anticipation celebrating this fun season. It is easy to become distracted during the many activities, but remember to keep the season safe by following a few simple rules.
Keep the Kitchen Safe
Most home fires start in the kitchen and surrounding area. With more guests in the home during the holidays, it is very important to take special precautions to avoid dangerous situations.
- Have fire extinguishers nearby and be familiar on how to use them.
- Keep kids and pets away from the cooking areas.
- Have many oven mitts on hand to prevent burns and be readily available.
- Never leave kitchen while cooking.
- Do not leave cooking pots and pans unattended.
Candles are the main reason that houses catch fire during the holiday seasons.
- Place candles out of the reach of children and pets. Beware that a wagging tail can easily knock over a lit candle.
- Do not place candles n windows where curtains or blinds can catch fire.
- Keep candles away from other decorations that are close by. A blowing flame can quickly catch paper products and other flammable materials on fire.
- Make sure the candle holder is large enough to hold the dripping wax that will collect at the bottom of the candle.
- Place candles in a sturdy holder on a flat surface to prevent tipping over.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
The Halloween season can be the beginning of cooler weather which can cause a fire in the home.
- Have the chimney inspected for safety before the holiday festivities.
- Place a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace when a fire is burning.
- Burn wood only. Placing paper in a burning fire can cause the ashes to float up through the chimney and onto the roof or a neighboring home.
Don't Get Sick!
There are many safety tips for Halloween that include candy examination, pet safety and responsible costume choices. But there is another safety issue, poisoning, that needs to be addressed to ensure a safe and fun Halloween season for your children and the children who will be in your home. There are steps that can be taken to protect children and help prevent poisoning.
- Never refer to medicine as “candy”.
- Remove all nonessential drugs from the household.
- Always keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac to be used to induce vomiting. This should only be used when instructed by the poison control center.
- Post phone number of poison control center by the telephone.
- Instruct visiting grandparent’s friends and family to keep their medications out of reach of children.
- Keep hair products away from children. Some permanents and relaxers are toxic.
- Purchase alcohol-free cough syrups and mouth washes. If a child should swallow any, it will not be as harmful.
- Inspect around your home at child level for poisoning hazards you haven’t noticed before.
- Lock all medications in a closet or cabinet to prevent children from taking any of the medication.
- Buy over-the-counter medications and cleaning products with child-resistant packaging and safety caps.
- Make sure any fuel burning equipment such as a heater, furnace or stove is working properly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use grills indoors or in the garage.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of the house and by each bedroom to ensure it will be heard while people sleep.
- When taking your own medicine, do not leave your next dose on the counter where children can reach it.
- Remove any poisonous plants in the house and yard and remove them or place them out of reach of children and pets.