Tips to keep children safe on Halloween

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From making costumes reflective to examining candy, there are several steps for adults to take when ensuring that children have a safe Halloween.

To make sure trick-or-treating is fun and safe, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these tips.

– Treats: Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering. When children bring their treats home, discard any homemade items. Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, hard candy or small toys. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will say so on the label.

– Flame-resistant costumes: When purchasing a costume, masks, beards and wigs, make sure they are labeled “flame resistant.” Although this label does not mean these items won’t catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

– Costume design: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility, trim or decorate costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape.

Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling. Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother’s high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.

Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than having a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, however, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision. Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.

– Pedestrian safety: Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child. All children should walk, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk, if available, rather than walk in the street. Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars crossing lawns where ornaments, furniture or clotheslines present dangers. To easily see and be seen, children should carry flashlights.

– Choosing safe houses: Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome. Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult. People expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches. Candlelit jack-o’-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.


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