Halloween safety tips

October 29, 2011

It’s that time of year again – time for dressing up like goblins and ghouls and consuming lots of treats.

Whether you’re donning a costume yourself or just taking the kids around the block, make this Halloween safe for everyone by following some simple guidelines.

“Parents, please use common sense,” advises Larry Fane, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Round Rock. “Have a plan before your child leaves the house. Map out their route and warn them of potential dangers like crossing the street and being aware of strangers.”

Dr. Fane also has simple safety tips for costumes. When choosing a costume, make sure it is flame-resistant and properly sized. Only use hypoallergenic and nontoxic makeup.

“Dress children in bright colors or get a costume with reflective elements so that your child is easily visible in the dark. The flashing lights used by joggers and walkers are great accessories,” Dr. Fane says. “Stay away from complicated costumes with props, things that could snag or hinder your child’s movement. Also, avoid masks, hoods and other headgear that can obstruct vision.”

When it comes to trick-or-treating, stay in familiar neighborhoods, Dr. Fane says. Arm the children and yourself with a flashlight and extra batteries. Stay on sidewalks and only cross streets at intersections and designated crosswalks.

“If you cannot personally accompany him or her, assign your child a ‘buddy,’ like an older sibling or a trusted neighbor,” Dr. Fane says. “Never give your child a chance to be unattended.”

And even when the masks come off and you’re safely back home, don’t dive into the candy just yet.

“Always check candy to make sure that it is safe to eat,” Dr. Fane emphasizes. “Discard anything that isn’t commercially wrapped or appears to have been compromised. Remind them that it is not about garnering vast quantities of candy but the fun of dress-up and sharing with neighbors.”

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