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Helping Those Wee Goblins Stay Safe on Halloween

October 23, 2000

Halloween is an exciting time of year for children--and a busy time for parents. Here are some tips for a safe holiday:

* Because they can obstruct a child's vision, masks are not recommended. If a child wears makeup, parents should look for nontoxic, hypoallergenic kits.

* Costumes should be flame-retardant and fit properly. Avoid oversized shoes, high heels and long skirts or pants that could cause a child to fall.

* Children who will be trick-or-treating after dusk should have reflective tape on their costumes and carry flashlights.

* Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers; then parents can do the cutting. Under parents' supervision, children ages 5 to 10 can carve with pumpkin cutters equipped with safety bars.

* Votive candles are safest for candle-lit pumpkins. Lighted pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

* Serve children a healthful dinner (with foods they like) before trick-or-treating so they won't fill up on candy.

* Offer trick-or-treaters something other than candy. Give them colorful pencils, stickers, large erasers or decorative shoelaces. Set a number of days candy can remain in the house before it gets thrown out.

* Children should not snack while they are trick-or-treating. Parents should check treats at home.

* Watch for signs of tampering, such as small pinholes in wrappers and torn or loose packages.

* Parents of young children should get rid of choking hazards, such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.

* To keep their home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.

* Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.

* Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.

* Remember that Halloween is for children of all ages . . . so get involved with your little ghost or goblin!

*

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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