From the candy to the costumes, Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents alike. But it's also a holiday that can pose dangers to young revelers. "Halloween is so much fun because it's not like any other night. With the chance to dress up in costume and stock up on sweets, it's the highlight of the year for many kids," says Kate Cronan, MD, medical editor for KidsHealthÂ® and an emergency room pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. "However, accidents do occur and parents need to take precautions to ensure their kids stay safe."
KidsHealth.org, the most-visited website for children's health information, offers these safety tips to help make this year's festivity a trick-free treat:
Choose costumes wisely. Here are some pointers.
â¢Choose a light-colored costume - it helps kids be seen more easily.
â¢Masks make it difficult for kids to see and breathe, so use nontoxic face paint or makeup instead.
â¢Make sure that costume props, such as wands or swords, are flexible, in case kids fall.
â¢Put a nametag, with your phone number, on your children's costumes.
Here are some ideas for trouble free trick or treating.
â¢Accompany young children under the age of 10 on their rounds and try to go early before it gets too dark.
â¢For older kids going out on their own, be sure they carry a cell phone, if possible, go in a group and stay together, only go to houses with porch lights on, and carry a flashlight with new batteries.
â¢If kids want to visit neighborhoods other than your own, be sure to stress the rules about strangers.
â¢Check all treats to make sure there are no signs of tampering and throw out loose candy, spoiled items, and any homemade treats.
â¢Make sure your home is safe by removing anything that might obstruct your walkway, providing a well-lit entrance, and keeping pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.
Even carving pumpkins can have its risks.
â¢Children should never handle knives. Instead, let them draw their designs on the pumpkin and then you do the carving.
â¢If your kids beg to remove the guts of the pumpkin, as many do, let them get messy by scooping out the flesh with their hands or an ice cream scoop instead of a knife.
â¢A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Use a glow stick (available in many colors) to safely illuminate your jack-o'-lantern.
"One of the challenges of being a parent is to teach your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety," says Dr. Cronan. "Although some dangers do exist, you lessen your kids' risk by teaching them safety rules early on."
For more information about helping your little ghosts and goblins have a hauntingly happy and safe Halloween, visit KidsHealth.org.