2009-10-22 / Healthy Living

Keep your children safe this Halloween

When it's time for goblins and ghouls to haunt the area, some simple tips can help keep your kids safe. "It sounds basic, but make sure your child can actually see well in their Halloween costume or mask," says Michele King, director of the child advocacy program for The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. "It's better for young children to wear a decorative hat or face paint instead of a mask or other costume that totally covers their face and might limit their vision."

Another important safety tip is to check the length of the costume. "Trickor treaters are often excited and moving quickly," Ms. King says. "You want to be sure that their costume doesn't trip them up."

Costumes should be flame-resistant, and reflective tape can be added to increase visibility.

A flashlight with fresh batteries is another key component for a safe night of trick-or-treating. Kids should know their address and parent's cellular and home phone numbers, and emergency identification information can be attached to their Halloween costumes or on bracelets.

Neighbors who will welcome trickor treaters can encourage a safe evening by having well-lit yards, walkways and front entries. "Be sure to remove toys, lawn decorations or other items that kids might trip over," Ms. King says. "And keep any pets in a secure place."

From pumpkin carving to community events, safety is also important in the days leading up to Halloween. "Some of the new pumpkin-carving kits have tools that don't look dangerous but can actually be quite sharp," Ms. King says. "It's better for younger kids to draw the design on with a marker and let their parents do the carving."

Parents should also light any jack-olantern candles. "Many times kids also attend Halloween-related festivities at church, school or other community locations," Ms. King says. "Parents should think about safety for these events as well as neighborhood trick-or-treating."

Children — and even adults — love this spooky holiday. However, make sure that you and your family members take pr cautions the proper precautions for a safe and healthy Halloween. ¦

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