Halloween was always a fun time of the year for my family because one of my children was born early on a Halloween morning. I just barely got the October baby I wanted! Below are some helpful tips for keeping children of all ages healthy and safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following tips:
• Plan costumes that are bright, reflective, and flame resistant. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
• Make sure that shoes and hats fit well, and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame and hats don’t cover the eyes, blocking vision.
• Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks.
• Avoid any sharp or long swords, canes, or sticks as a costume accessory. Your child can easily be hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
• Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional.
• Never allow small children to carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting, using small knives to prevent injury.
• Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
• Do not place candlelit pumpkins on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by and do not leave them unattended.
On the trick-or-treat trail
• Reduce pedestrian injury — the most common injury to children on Halloween.
• Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
• Use well-lit streets and the sidewalk as well as marked crosswalks.
• If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
• Never cut across yards or use alleys.
• Never cross between parked cars or out of 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!
• Give your child a balanced meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating; this will discourage filling up on Halloween treats.
• Consider offering non-edible goodies. Some suggestions are items such as glow sticks, spider rings, vampire fangs, pencils, bubbles, bouncy balls, finger puppets, whistles, bookmarks, stickers and stencils.
• Keep an eye on what your child has in their mouth at all times. As all parents know, babies and toddlers will put just about anything into their mouths!
• Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween. Plan together so everyone knows what to expect. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your kids about moderation and balance.
Monique Koerner is the Family and Community Wellness agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. One may reach her at: 785-628-9430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.