LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Ark. Children's Hospital) -- It's almost time for the magic and mischief of Halloween. But as parents prepare their children for a night of fun, they should remember to be cautious about cars, costumes and candy. The very whimsies that are so much fun can sometimes contribute to danger.
"Planning for safe costumes and trick-or-treating can keep Halloween fun and injury-free," said Mary Aitken, MD, MPH, director of the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) and a professor of Pediatrics in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine. "Making sure children are visible as they walk, that they can see well themselves, and that they are supervised are all important. Simple common sense measures can make the difference between a fun family evening and a trip to the emergency department."
The following are some tips from the ACH Injury Prevention Center to help ensure that your trick-or-treaters have a fun and injury-free Halloween.
•Costumes should be brightly colored and made of flame-retardant fabric;
•Be careful of candles and luminaries;
•Avoid costumes that drag the ground and cause a tripping hazard;
•Make sure that shoes fit properly to avoid tripping;
•Use reflective tape on costumes or provide children with flashlights, glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark bracelets so cars can see them;
•Masks should not obscure the child's vision;
•Face paint is a good option, but be careful to avoid skin and eye irritation;
•Carry only flexible "weapons" (knives, swords and other props); and
•Have your child carry some form of I.D. with emergency contact information.
•If possible, limit trick-or-treating to daylight hours;
•Select a predetermined route for your children;
•Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods and visit only houses that are lighted;
•Never enter the home of a stranger;
•Children should trick-or-treat in groups and be accompanied by a responsible adult or older sibling;
•If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic;
•Watch for oncoming traffic when crossing the street to visit the next house; and
•Remain on well-lighted streets.
•Instruct children to bring candy home to be inspected before they eat it;
•Dispose of any loosely wrapped or unwrapped items, or those that have any suspicious-looking marks or punctures;
•Small hard candies, popcorn, peanuts and very sticky candy can be possible choking hazards for children 3 years of age and under; and
•Throw away home-made treats.
•Drive slowly and watch carefully for children crossing the street;
•Check for children before backing out of driveways;
•With many children on the streets and tagging through neighborhoods, it is especially important to put down the cell phone and not text behind the wheel;
•Keep car headlights on to ensure you see all little ones nearby; and
•Be sure to use your child's car seat or booster seat each time you get in the car, even if you're only traveling a short distance.
•If trick-or-treaters are welcome at your home, leave the porch light on;
•Remove any tripping hazards from the lawn and walkways to the home;
•Try using strings or lights instead of candles, which can cause fires; and
•Consider healthy food alternatives or non-food treats.
Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus spans 29 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 75 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.