As young trick-or-treaters hit the streets on Saturday to collect their candy, you can be sure that the last thing on their minds will be safety. Instead, it is important for parents to take an active role in ensuring safety.
Some of the most basic safety issues involve costumes and candy. However, there are some simple safety tips that parents can follow. For example, according to the Lansing State Journal parents should follow these quick treat-or-treat tips to ensure food safety:
Tell children not to accept anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
When children bring their treats home, discard any home-made candy or baked goods. Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
Parents should wash all fresh fruit thoroughly and inspect it for holes, including small punctures. Fruit should be cut open before allowing kids to eat it.
Some Halloween treats may trigger allergic reactions. Read the complete label and ingredient list of products before interpreting it is safe for all to eat.
To help prevent children from snacking while they’re out trick-or-treating, and before parents have inspected the treats, give them a snack or light meal before they go.
If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will say so on the label.
As always, proper hand washing is essential to food safety.
Remind kids to wash their hands before eating.
Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!
Similarly, ill-fitted costumes can cause safety issues such as slip-and-fall accidents. Furthermore, it is important to make sure your child has a flame-resistant costume, especially since most homes will have jack-o-lanterns with lit candles inside. Furthermore, it is important to make sure the eyeholes in your child’s Halloween mask are big enough to clearly see through. I also recently wrote about the dangers of lead in face paint–masks may still be a better option than risking your child’s health with contaminated paints.
Unfortunately costumes aren’t the only factor that can endanger your child’s life. For example, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 94% of children participate in Halloween activities. Sadly, there are individuals that could harm your child— child predators and reckless drivers, alike. Nevertheless, the Center offers the following tips to keep your child safe on Halloween:
CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight.
PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, streets that are isolated, or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.
NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children should always travel in groups.
ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.
BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.
DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.
CONSIDER organizing a home or community party as an alternative to “trick-or-treating.”
MAKE sure children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.
TEACH children to say “NO!” or “this is not my mother/father” in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.
Please keep these safety tips in mind so that your children have a fun and SAFE Halloween!
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.