Halloween is right around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about costumes, candy, and of course, children’s safety. The Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County (CAC) offers advice on precautions to take for trick-or-treating.
“If you have young children, below the age of 12, accompanying them is vital to their safety,” explained Marla Behler, program coordinator for the CAC. “Additionally, parents with younger children, under 5 years, should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.”
Older children, age 12 and above, may want to go with groups of friends, so setting some ground rules is important. These can include: what time to be home, bringing all candy home for inspection, avoiding homemade treats, and not entering stranger’s houses, no matter how friendly they seem. Also, providing kids with a full meal before trick-or-treating helps keep them from snacking on candy before returning home. Carefully inspect all candy for unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers, and discard anything that looks suspicious.
Additional trick-or-treat safety tips for kids:
- Check labels on costumes and buy only flame-retardant or flame-resistant costumes.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
- Pre-test makeup according to label directions.
- Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure vision.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase visibility to drivers and carry a flashlight.
- Use established crosswalks and sidewalks wherever possible. Walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic if necessary.
Home safety tips for adults:
- 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.
- Clear front entranceways and remove anything a child could trip over (garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations, etc.).
- Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
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