It’s that time of year– goblins, ghouls, pirates and princesses will be making their way through neighborhoods with outstretched hands and shy giggles. Yep, Halloween is here!
Along with the kid’s fun comes parental responsibility. While you can’t protect your little one from every danger, there are steps you can take to help make this holiday safer.
Preventing fires and burns.
• Select flame retardant materials when buying or making costumes.
• Choose battery-operated candles and lights instead of open-flame candles.
Make sure your child can see and be seen!
• Trim costumes or clothing with reflective tape. Many costumes are dark in color and can’t easily be seen by car drivers.
• Give your child a small flashlight or glow stick to carry with them if they are trick- or- treating after dusk.
The “Great Pumpkin” carving
Carving pumpkins is traditional in many families and while the results can be stunning, great care needs to be taken when children are involved.
• Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
· Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
· Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
Make sure your child’s costume fits properly.
Store bought costumes rarely fit properly, so you may need to make some adjustments.
• Adjust costumes to ensure a good fit. Long skirts or capes can drag on the ground and cause falls.
• Secure hats, scarves and masks to ensure that your child can see everything that is going on around them. Also, check to see that nothing is keeping your child from breathing properly. Masks and some super-hero helmets can fir too tightly, making it hard to breathe.
• Make sure that swords, canes or sticks are not sharp.
Never let your child wear colored contacts.
Colored contacts have become popular with some older children. Often the packets these contacts come in have advertising on the package claiming that, “One size fits all.” They don’t. These lenses are illegal in some states, but can be found online. They may cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye infections. Avoid these at all costs.
Make your home a safe place for trick or treaters
• To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard 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 or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
• Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
How old should children be before they can be unaccompanied by an adult? There is no correct answer to that question. An adult should always accompany young children. When your child is about ten, they may start asking to go with their friends. There are some questions to think about before you decide to let them.
• What is your child’s maturity level? Do they normally act pretty responsible and make good choices?
• Who are the friends they want to go with and what is their maturity level?
• What area are they going to be trick-or-treating in? Will it be local or in an area your child may not be familiar with?
• What time to they plan to start and be back home? Give your child a definite time.
Whether your child is with you - or out with friends - make sure someone has a charged cell phone with them. You want be prepared in case of an emergency.
Halloween has changed over the years and lots of parents now take their children to specific places that host Halloween parties and activities, but whether it’s in a controlled environment or out on the streets, it’s still smart to keep safety first.
Dr. Karen Sherman, http://www.hitchedmag.com/article.php?id=365