With trick-or-treating, jack ‘o lanterns, candy and costumes, Halloween can be a truly joyful holiday for children, but parents also have to keep safety in mind.
Children can have the time of their lives – but they can also get injured while running around the neighborhood in the dark, and there are some potential risks with some of the “treats” and costumes as well.
SWRNN has compiled a list of Halloween safety tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Temecula Police Department:
- Avoid trick-or-treating alone. It’s best for children or teens of any age to walk in groups or go out with a trusted adult. Younger children can easily get lost.
- Parents should examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before letting the kids eat them and only let the kids eat factory-made candy — never homemade treats. For the wrapped candy, look for torn wrappers or any piece that looks suspicious. If you find one, toss the candy in the trash.
- Take a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and so others can more easily see you.
- Remember the old lesson for kids to look both ways before crossing the street? It’s especially important for kids to be aware of cars while trick-or-treating and cross streets at the corners if possible. Drivers also need to use more caution on Halloween since so many children are out in the streets.
- Only visit houses that are well lit and avoid going inside. Kids should not enter homes unless they are with a trusted adult. Tell the kids not to stop at dark houses and to never accept rides from strangers.
- Check the Megan’s Law website and avoid any houses listed. Use caution in any neighborhood where there are houses listed from the site where a child predator might be living.
- Parents should keep their children in sight, as it is easy for them to get lost among the groups of kids who may have similar costumes.
- Avoid taking the dog trick-or-treating because even the best-behaved pet can spook and either bite someone or run off.
- Don’t walk near lit candles or luminaries.
Costumes also can cause hazards, so here are some considerations:
- Children and adults should wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape to the costume or candy bag for increased visibility. Also make sure the costumes aren’t so long that the person wearing it is in danger of tripping.
- If the costume has a mask, make sure it’s tight-fitting to avoid blocked vision and that shoes fit properly to prevent trips and falls.
- It’s best to avoid wearing decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and received proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses. Many experts, including the FDA, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the American Optometric Association, all discourage consumers from using decorative contact lenses. Buying any kind of contact lenses without an exam and a prescription from an eye care professional can cause serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss. It’s illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, but the FDA noted that the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons, particularly around Halloween.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.