MassGeneral Hospital for Children News

The pediatric nursing staff at MassGeneral Hospital for Children offers suggestions on how to keep your trick or treating safe and your holiday trouble free.

Halloween Safety Tips

15/Oct/2012

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Halloween can be a fun time for many people. Children and parents often like to dress up in costumes and especially enjoy getting treats from neighbors. Keep in mind, however, that taking to the streets in costumes and masks and eating all that candy can pose potential safety hazards and health risks.

Here are some suggestions from the pediatric nursing staff at MassGeneral Hospital for Children to help keep your trick or treating safe and your holiday trouble free

Costumes

  • All costumes should be flame retardant
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent the risk of tripping when walking or climbing stairs. Don't forget that "tails" can trip kids too
  • Choose a light colored costume or decorate the outfit with reflective tape to ensure visibility to motorists
  • Children should wear rubber soled shoes or sneakers – NO high heels
  • Do not use costumes or masks that cover the eye area. Use face paint instead
  • Children should not carry pointed or hard objects. Swords and devil's forks should be made from soft materials
  • Have children carry small flashlights to keep themselves visible
  • Temperature appropriate clothing should be worn under costumes

Treats

  • Before going out to trick or treat, set the ground rules with children. Make a plan to complete homework before trick or treating, and set expectations about how much candy they will be allowed to eat that night
  • Remind children that they should not eat candy that is unwrapped and that all candy should be examined by an adult before opening
  • Younger children should not be given hard candy or chewy candy as it poses a choking hazard

Trick or Treating

  • An adult should always accompany small children. It's also best to have them go out early, before dark
  • Talk to younger children about what they may see while out. Some costumes can be quite scary!
  • Older children who are going out without adult supervision should be given strict ground rules:
    • Stay in a group
    • Visit only neighborhoods you know
    • Set a time to be home, and make sure they have a watch
    • Give them a cell phone for emergency
  • Use sidewalks, cover one side of the street at a time, and cross only at corners and crosswalks
  • Never go inside anyone's house that is not known to the family
  • Never accept a ride in a car from a stranger
  • Only go to houses that are well lit and welcoming

Receiving Trick or Treaters

  • When decorating, only use flame retardant materials
  • Keep dried leaves and cornstalks away from any heat source
  • Do not use candles to light your pumpkins. Small flash lights will work
  • Make certain your home and front yard are well lighted and there is a clear path where children and parents may approach
  • Keep the area around the door free of bicycles, rakes, lawn furniture, and other tripping hazards
  • Treats don’t necessarily need to be candy – offer stickers or other non-food items

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