Keeping kids safe at Halloween

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Get ready! It’s this Saturday night. We know Halloween is a special time for kids to dress up as their favorite super hero, princess or scary zombie while getting their hands on those coveted goodies. But with all of the excitement that comes with this festive time of year, it’s important to be aware of how to keep kids safe. Anita Juvvadi, MD, Stanford Children’s Health pediatrician with Juvvadi Pediatrics in Mountain View, offers some helpful reminders for parents when their ghosts and goblins head out on Halloween.

Trick-or-Treating

  • An adult should always accompany young children.
  • Older children should go in groups, have a planned route and an agreed-upon time to return home, as well as carry a cell phone.
  • Never allow kids to enter a home while trick-or-treating. They should always remain outside.
  • If your child has food allergies, adults should go up to the door and help pick the candy. Even sealed candy can leave traces of nuts that can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Trick-or-treaters should carry a flashlight or have some source of light with them. Glow sticks are also an option, and fastening reflective tape on costumes is a good idea.
  • Children should always walk from house to house and not run.
  • When walking on roads, children should always walk in the direction that faces traffic.
  • Only allow children to visit houses that are lit and have a porch light on.

Costumes

  • Be careful of loose strings or straps that can become tripping hazards.
  • Costumes should be flame resistant.
  • Ensure costumes, shoes and masks fit well in order to avoid trips and falls.
  • Face paint and makeup are good alternatives to masks, but test them first to ensure they don’t cause an allergic reaction.
  • Carrying baskets or plastic pumpkins is a safer alternative to plastic bags.

Treats

  • Don’t allow children to accept any homemade goodies.
  • Inspect treats once you are home and throw away any candy with torn or open packages.
  • Instead of candy, consider handing out small toys, stickers or tattoos, which are fun alternatives to sugar-loaded candy.
  • Monitor your child’s candy intake days following Halloween. Moderation is best.
  • Parents can also donate excess candy to Operation Gratitude or check with your pediatrician or dentist for other donation options.

Halloween decorations

Part of the fun of Halloween is decorating your home and yard, but make sure there are no hazards for trick-or-treaters.

  • Tape down any wires with duct tape.
  • Avoid using power cords.
  • Consider using flameless candles instead of real candles for jack-o-lanterns.
  • Homes should be well-lit, especially the path up to the door.
  • Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters.

“Halloween can be a very enjoyable holiday for children and adults,” said Juvvadi, “following these basic precautions will help ensure your child has a good time while keeping safe.”

More information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween.

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