Tips to ensure child safety during Halloween 2013

The American Academy of Pediatrics again published a press release on safety tips for kids at Halloween this year. The advice is basic but timely and will help your kids stay safe on Thurs, Oct. 31 when witches and goblins go trick-or-treating.

The AAP offers advice under five headings: 'All Dressed Up', 'Carving a Niche', 'Home Safe Home', ''On the Trick or Treat Trail' and 'Happy Halloween'. Below is a synopsis of each, an easy to read reminder of safety for kids, and all, at Halloween. All Dressed Up For Halloween Under this heading is a reminder to make costumes bright and reflective and short enough to prevent tripping, getting tangled up or having contact with flame. You can add reflective tape for increased visibility. Make sure shoes fit and costumes don't block vision and use non-toxic make-up. Pick costumes that say they are flame resistant and swords or canes should be neither sharp nor, to prevent stumbling or injury, too long. Carving a Niche and Home Safe Home Small children should not partake in the actual carving of a pumpkin. Have them draw the faces etc. with markers, but sharp things and small ones aren't a good combination. Flashlights or glow sticks are the best choices to light your pumpkin but if you use a candle make it a votive candle. Put pumpkins with candles on a sturdy table and away from curtains and other flammable objects. Home Safe Home In this category the AAP suggests you check the porch and any part of the yard that trick or treaters will use. Remove stuff kids could trip over like garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Sweep leaves off sidewalks and from steps and make sure surfaces are not slippery. It's wise to restrain pets that might jump on or bite a child; most pets don't like the noise of Halloween anyhow. On the Trick or Treat Trail At least one adult should be with trick or treaters and each child should carry a flashlight. For older children going alone, plan a route and agree on times for them to check in and to arrive home. They, too, should have a flashlight and, if possible, a cell phone. Children will need to be reminded to only go to homes with a porch light on and to never go into a home or car to get a treat. The most common injuries to trick or treaters are from motor vehicles so you'll want to go over safety around cars with your kids. Adults sticking by the younger ones need to be extra vigilante when kids are crossing streets or are walking near cars. Cross streets as a group at crosswalks, avoid alleyways and don't walk in between parked cars. Stay on sidewalks and always face the traffic. The AAP cautions against assuming the right of way and reminds that motorists may have trouble seeing trick or treaters. And just because one car stops don't assume the next one will. There's a lot going on so err on the side of slowness and caution Once you get home check your children's candy; though tampering is rare it does occur. Throw out spoiled or unwrapped items and anything that looks suspicious. Some parents don't allow their kids to keep the fruit they were given because, unhappily, fruit has been tampered with in the past. Having a Healthy Halloween It's not exactly a minefield of potential accidents on Halloween but there are things to think about and the steps suggested by the AAP are easy to implement. The bottom line is that all of us, kids and adults, deserve a fun and accident-free night of celebration and a little extra care will ensure that is what you get. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!


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