Keep kids safe this Halloween

pumpkinHalloween should be a night filled only with treats. Yet every year, kids are injured—sometimes seriously—because they’re too excited to watch out for cars, masks block their sight or a knife slips when they’re carving pumpkins.

To keep the trick-or-treaters in your family safe this Halloween, follow these tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Safe Kids Worldwide:

Make costumes safe. For example, to make kids more visible at night, have them wear light-colored costumes, and decorate both costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers.

Also see that kids:

  • Dress up with nontoxic face paint and makeup instead of masks. Wearing a mask could block your child’s vision.
  • Wear costumes, wigs and accessories that are clearly labeled as flame resistant.
  • Don’t carry a sword or stick that is sharp and potentially dangerous.
  • Never wear nonprescription, decorative contact lenses, which can cause serious eye infections and permanent vision loss.

Set ground rules for trick-or-treating. Any child younger than 12 needs to be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating, particularly when crossing streets. Older kids need to tell parents precisely where in the neighborhood they’ll be knocking on doors. They also need to agree on a specific time to show up back at home and to carry a cellphone for emergencies.

In addition, all kids should be reminded to:

  • Always use sidewalks when they’re available. When sidewalks aren’t available, kids should walk on the far edge of the street, facing traffic.
  • Never cross between parked cars, use alleys or cut across yards.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Always carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or has a wrapper that is torn.

Take care with pumpkins. Don’t let small children carve pumpkins. Let them draw a face with a marker, and then carve the pumpkin yourself.

Some other pumpkin safety tips:

  • If older kids carve pumpkins, have them use a pumpkin carving kit or a knife specifically designed for carving.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light pumpkins.
  • Always place candle-lit pumpkins on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects.

Keep your home safe

Even if you don’t have trick-or-treaters in your family, if you’re handing out candy you should follow these precautions:

  • Keep anything a child could trip on—such as a bike or garden hose—away from your yard or porch.
  • Remove wet leaves from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they don’t bite trick-or-treaters.

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