Thursday, October 8, 2009

Keeping Your Little Ghosts and Goblins Safe This Halloween

Your little ghosts and goblins are dreaming of a night filled with candy and sweets, you are worried about safety and unhealthy amounts of sugar consumption. Halloween is a time of fun for kids and adults alike, but is can also bring with it risks and hazards that as parents we need to help prevent.

How can we keep Halloween fun and still keep our little ones safe? The American Academy of Pediatrics has given us good advice, and I will share some of it here with you:

Costume and Treat Bag Tips:
  • 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.

Trick or Treating Safely:

  • 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:

  • 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 (as recognized by local custom).

  • 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.

Keeping Halloween Healthy:

  • 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.

Something we do as a family is let each child pick a couple favorite pieces of candy that night, and then the rest of the candy is placed in a family bowl. The rest of the candy is left in the bowl for everyone to pick a piece or two on occasion. This keeps jealousy down and it helps keep my kids from gorging themselves on their entire bag of candy in one sitting. (Plus, Mom and Dad get a few good pieces for themselves). We also have a no masks and no gory costume policy in our family. Halloween is mostly for little kids and super scary, gory costumes can be disturbing for little ones.

We would love for you to share any tips you have found that help keep Halloween both safe and fun .

- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

Featured weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics Halloween Safety Tips News Release October 2009

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