It's Halloween, and youngsters will soon be out trick or treating.
As they get ready to collect their Halloween treats, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross offer the following tips to make this a fun and safe Halloween.
Review this list on Halloween and make sure all are checked before dusk.
- Remove hazards from front porch and yard, such as pots, branches, candles and hoses.
- Confine household pets, and make sure they are wearing collars.
- Leave jack-o-lantern carving to adults and use battery-powered lights.
- Talk to children in advance about boundaries for how many pieces of candy will be eaten Halloween night (three to five recommended).
- When choosing candies to give on Halloween, select ones with nutritional value like chocolates (the darker the better) or candies with nuts.
- Send kids trick-or-treating on a full stomach by planning an easy meal, like a bowl of whole-wheat pasta or a quick peanut butter and banana sandwich.
- Make sure masks have eyeholes large enough for full vision.
- Check for loose clothing that could easily brush up against jack-o-lanterns.
- Read labels to make sure fabrics are flame resistant-remind to stop, drop and roll.
- Test props to make sure they are flexible and confirm face paint is non-toxic.
- Add reflective tape and stickers if costumes are not bright.
- Ensure kids carry a flashlight and cell phone.
- Chaperone children age 13 and younger.
- Remind kids to stay on sidewalk; walk facing traffic and avoid shortcuts.
- Set a rule to visit only well-lit houses and remain on porch.
- Children ages 5-14 are four times more likely to be killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year. Falls are the leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween. Halloween is a fun time for children, but it also is an important time to be extra vigilant for possible safety hazards-so that your children have a fun and safe Halloween.
- Avoid costumes with excessive flowing fabric, such as capes or sleeves. Loose clothing can easily brush up against a jack-o-lantern or other open flame, causing your child's costume to catch on fire.
- Always supervise children under the age of 13. Older children should trick-or-treat in a group, and a curfew should be established for them.
- Parents of food-allergic children must read every candy label in their child's Halloween bag to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation for the child.
- By visiting 15 houses, the average trick-or-treater can collect up to 60 pieces of "fun-size" candy on Halloween night. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta looked at the calories, fat and sugar content of a bag of typical Halloween treats and found it to be equivalent to 4,800 calories, one-and-a-half cups of fat and three cups of sugar.
"Allowing your child to consume three cups of sugar is like standing by and watching them eat 200 packets of sugar," said Dr. Stephanie Walsh, Medical Director of Child Wellness at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "Halloween and candy are synonymous, but it's important to provide sweets in moderation and focus on the fun and family time of the event - not the candy."
According to Dr. Walsh, candies with rich ingredients such as chocolate and peanut butter have the highest sugar and fat content. And many specialty Halloween candies, such as candy corn, contain unhealthy amounts of sugar if not consumed in moderation.
Greeting Trick or Treaters:
For those who expect to welcome trick-or-treaters at their door, they can make sure it's fun for everyone by following a few tips:
- Make sure the outdoor lights are on.
- Sweep leaves from sidewalks and steps.
- Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
- Restrain pets.
- Use a glow stick instead of a candle in jack-o-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard.