Be safe for Halloween fun

Published 7:07 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

It’s here — Halloween! A fun time for kids to dress up and collect bags of candy, but you can never be too safe when out at night trick-or-treating.

When parents think of dangers, they often think of candy that has been poisoned or tampered with, and dark streets filled with strangers. But other more common dangers haunt kids.

I did some research online and found an article from the Consumer Product Safety Commission listing three costume-related injuries trick-or-treaters can sustain.

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Youth may be burned from flammable costumes catching fire from items such as candles and jack-o’-lanterns, eye abrasions from sharp objects attached to masks and costumes, and skin irritations or rashes from decorative paints.

“When purchasing costumes …look for flame resistant nylon or polyester fabrics or look for the label ‘flame resistant’,” the site said.

“To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.”

Costumes and candy sacks should be clearly visible to motorists, a trick that can be achieved by trimming these items with reflective tape from hardware or sporting goods stores. Have children carry flashlights to aid in seeing and being seen.

Costumes should also be short enough so they don’t trip kids, and shoes should be well fitting and sturdy.

It is not a good idea to let a child wear their parent’s shoes. Be sure masks have big enough eye holes to allow full vision and take steps to prevent any other head wear from blocking their vision. Costume props such as swords or knives should be made of soft, flexible material.

Also remember not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering. When in doubt, throw it out. This is a fun time of year for children and adults, but so often emergency rooms see cases where common sense practices were not applied and accidents happened.

Have fun out there tonight!

John Few is a reporter for the Demopolis Times.