There are few holidays that conjure up as much excitement in kids as Halloween. The costume rush and mounds of candy. Some children consider it a national holiday.
Needless to say, there are some real threats to the safety of our kids during this popular day. To make it run smoothly and to keep everyone safe, here are a few tips that parents need to consider and talk about beforehand with their kids.
- Use face paint instead of masks. Face paint is now preferred by most safety agencies as the safest way to dress up the face for Halloween. Be sure the paint meets the Federal Standards of Cosmetics to prevent possible rashes, or use a homemade recipe using safe ingredients. If you do go with a mask, be sure that the holes for the eyes, mouth and nose are open enough to ensure safe seeing, talking and breathing.
- Dress age-appropriately. Make sure that your children's costumes are large enough to wear one layer of normal clothing underneath for warmth, but if it's too big or long, they can easily trip and hurt themselves. Be sure that the costume has a retro reflective strip somewhere between the shoulders and knees to alert drivers on the street and other kids, especially large groups.
- Stay with children under 12. If your child is younger than 12, stay with them. If you're allowing them to go with another adult, be sure your child knows the name of that person and vice versa. Write the name of your child, address and phone number on a piece of paper and tuck it away in a pocket or pin it to their costume on the inside of the waist. Remember, when a child is excited, frightened or hurt, they forget facts. Tell them what the piece of paper is, what it says, why it's there and when to use it.
- No running. Tell your children there will be no running allowed. Falling down is one of the top children's injuries while trick-or-treating. Have them stay on sidewalks and/or walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
- Don't cross yards. Even though many people keep their lights on during the evening, they rarely shine over the entire yard. There could be something in the yard that could trip or hurt your child.
- Establish a return time and safe route. Draw up a simple map of your neighborhood and clearly mark approved houses. These should be people that you know and trust. Give them a time to return home and have a 'no room for discussion' rule.
- Monitor their mouths. Keep an eye on toddlers and young children as they try to begin eating their candy right away. It's always best for none of the kids to eat any treat until someone has gone through the entire stash. However, with little ones, they will instantly put goodies into their mouths, wrapper and all, possibly presenting a choking hazard.
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