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KEEPING LITTLE PRINCESSES AND PIRATES SAFE

KEEPING LITTLE PRINCESSES AND PIRATES SAFE - Tripping is the number one cause of injury when trick-or-treating, according to the National Safety Council. So don’t let your kids wear costumes that are too long. (File photo)

KEEPING LITTLE PRINCESSES AND PIRATES SAFE - Tripping is the number one cause of injury when trick-or-treating, according to the National Safety Council. So don’t let your kids wear costumes that are too long. (File photo)

NATIONAL -- Soon children will be sneaking and slithering through the neighborhood in search of Halloween treats. But you should beware of the real dangers of Halloween. These five tips will tell you how to keep your little princesses and pirates secure this season.

Keeping Costumes Safe
The best part of Halloween is dressing up, of course, but ensure that costume is trick-or-treat friendly. It should be well-fitted, and especially don't let your kids wear costumes that are too long. Tripping is the number one cause of injury when trick-or-treating, according to the National Safety Council.

Shoes also should be appropriate. Don't have your child clomping around in oversized shoes or high heels. Avoid masks that can reduce your child's visibility. Instead, think about using face paint. And make sure store-bought costumes and accessories are labeled "flame resistant" -- and use flame-resistant materials if you're making costumes.

Children should wear costumes that make them more visible to drivers. Trick-or-treaters roaming the streets after dark will need flashlights or a light stick. You also should put reflective tape on their costumes and trick or treat bags -- it's available at any sporting goods or biking store. If it's possible, choose a costume that is very colorful. Glow-in-the-dark stickers can be added to darker costumes to make them more visible.

Use Your Trick-or-Treating Smarts
Kids between the ages of 5 and 14 are four times more likely to be killed by walking on Halloween than on any other night, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This is because they cross streets mid-block and often can't anticipate driver behavior.

If you have a young child, you should go trick-or-treating along with them. Young kids need adult supervision to ensure they cross streets at the corner and don't dart out between cars. And take them out while it's still light out.

Make sure your trick-or-treaters only ring the doorbells of houses with their porch lights on. Additionally, they should know never to enter a stranger's home. And, finally, it's a good idea to pin their name, address and phone number somewhere on their costume, just in case.

Check Those Sweet Rewards
Remember the story of the razor blade in the apple? Dangerous treats are no wives' tale. It's very important that you're on the lookout for suspicious candy. Don't let your little one eat candy before you've had a chance to go through it. Throw away candy if wrappers are faded, if they have holes or tears or if the candy has been unwrapped.

Ensure chocolate doesn't have faded spots on it. You should throw away any candy that you have doubts about. And don't let your kid eat a homemade treat unless you know the person who handed it out.

Also, don't let them eat candy while still running around trick-or-treating as this presents a choking hazard.

Prepare Your Home for Trick-or-Treaters
If you're the one getting ready to hand out treats, ensure your yard is clear of hoses, dog leashes and flower pots. Keep lighted pumpkins located away from walkways or steps. Sweep away those wet leaves. If you have pets, think about keeping them confined to a section of the house. Pets may get frightened or anxious with all the unfamiliar visitors.

Be smart with decorations
It's a good idea to replace the candles in your jack-o'-lantern with battery-powered candles. Keep in mind that small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, and then parents can do the cutting.

Under parental supervision, children also can carve with pumpkin cutters equipped with safety bars. Make sure to remove all decorations from candles. Bales of hay and corn stalks may be decorative, but they're also highly flammable. And don't overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.