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Halloween Child-Safety Tips

Halloween is a time of year when costumed little ones meander door-to-door, uttering words that instill terror in every homeowner, “Trick or Treat!” Heaven help you if you don’t have any candy handy. Several years ago, Halloween caught me by surprise, utterly and completely candiless. In my desperation, I handed out dish towels and oven mitts. I don’t want to suggest that retribution was harsh, but I’m still removing toilet paper from my trees.

If your diminutive ghosts, gremlins, goblins and goblets are heading out for a night on the town, here are few Halloween child safety tips to keep in mind to help ensure a safe and happy All-Hallow’s Eve:

• Wear costumes that are bright and reflective. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

• Make sure costumes are short enough to avoid tripping.

• An important Halloween child safety tip is for each child to carry emergency identification (name, address, phone number) within his or her costume or on a bracelet.

• Masks can limit or block vision, so consider using non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or an appropriate hat as a safer alternative.

• When shopping for costumes and related attire, purchase items clearly labeled, “Flame Resistant.”

• If costume props include simulated knives, guns or swords, be sure they don’t appear authentic, and instead are soft and flexible to prevent injury.

• Put fresh batteries in flashlights carried by the kids and their escorts.

• Use battery-powered lanterns or chemical light sticks instead of actual candles.

• If you decorate your home to encourage trick-or-treaters, make sure you don’t have any tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. There’s nothing worse than getting sued by a five-year-old’s attorney because of Halloween child safety issues—with the possible exception of getting sued by a five-year-old attorney.

• As tempting as it may be, children shouldn't snack while they're trick-or-treating. Instruct them to wait until they get home so parents can have an opportunity to inspect the goodies. (To help avoid snacking, don’t send your kids out on an empty stomach.)

• When children bring their treats home, discard any home-made candy or baked goods.

• The most important Halloween child safety tip is to inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks remotely suspicious. Don’t take any chances!

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