Halloween Safety 101: 9 Tips to Keep Your Little Ghosts and Goblins Safe When They Go Trick or Treating

By Suzan Clarke

Oct 24, 2011 6:00am
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It’s that time of year again.  Parents and their excited ghosts and goblins are gearing up to go trick or treating.

But while this is a time for little ones to have fun, parents shouldn’t let the kids’ enthusiasm drown out common sense. There are many hazards associated with Halloween.

Here are a few tips to help keep your children safe:

  • Make sure children wear bright, reflective costumes when they go trick-or-treating at night. If their costumes blend into the dark, give them glow sticks to carry, or place strips of reflective tape on their costumes or trick-or-treat bags to make sure drivers and others can spot them in the darkness. On average, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween as compared to any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids USA, a national child safety advocacy organization.
  • Don’t allow children to wear face paint without testing it first to make sure it doesn’t irritate their skin or trigger allergies.
  • Don’t allow children to wear decorative, non-prescription contact lenses.
  • Make sure store-bought costumes and accessories — such as wigs, hats and masks — are flame-retardant. The label should clearly state that. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.
  • Don’t leave candles burning unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Halloween is one of the top five days for candle fires. Try votive candles instead, and keep jack-o-lanterns away from curtains. Or why not opt for electric lights?  They give all the ghostly glow without the risk of burning the house down or igniting a costume.
  • Don’t let children wear costumes that are too long. They could get caught in car doors or could trail too close to candles.
  • Children who are younger than 12 years old should not be allowed to go trick or treating by themselves.
  • Be sure to examine all your children’s treat for signs of tampering and choking hazards, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions.  Children should not eat homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Don’t let younger children carve pumpkins. Let them draw the outlines onto pumpkins, but leave the carving to an adult.

See other Halloween safety tips from the CDC here.

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