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Health Tips for Parents


Health Tips for Parents

2011 Issues

How can I keep my child safe during Halloween?


HT-Oct11-Pirate CostumeHalloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents alike with costumes and candy, but parents should be diligent in taking the right precautions to keep it a safe and happy holiday.

The pediatricians at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA offer parents the following simple safety tips for choosing costumes, trick-or-treating, and selecting candy to eat.

Costumes Consider choosing a light-colored costume or add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the outfit so your kids can be easily seen by others and by cars. Don’t buy a costume unless it’s labeled “flame-retardant.” Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover your child’s eyes, nose or mouth since this may make it difficult to see and breathe. Avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes that could cause children to trip, and avoid long or baggy skirts, pants or shirtsleeves that could catch on something and result in a fall.

Trick-or-Treating Parents should accompany young children (under age 10), and make sure they know their home phone number, cell phone numbers of their parents, or how to call 911 in case they get lost. For older children who are trick-or-treating on their own, make sure you approve the route they’ll be taking and know when they’ll be coming home. It may be best to limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know.

Halloween Goodies When your children get home, check all treats to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together. Throw out loose candy, spoiled items and any homemade treats that haven’t been made by someone you know. Do not allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking. It is wise to keep track of how much candy your children collect and store it somewhere other than their bedrooms so you can set limits on how much they can eat.

How to make your home Halloween friendly

Make sure trick-or-treaters will be safe when visiting your home. Remove lawn decorations, sprinklers, toys, bicycles, wet leaves or anything that might obstruct your walkway. Provide a well-lit outside entrance to your home. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.

When trick-or-treating on their own, have children:

  • Carry a cell phone, if possible
  • Go in a group and stay together
  • Only go to houses with porch lights on and walk on sidewalks on lit streets
  • Know to never go into strangers’ homes or cars
  • Cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop
  • Carry flashlightswith new batteries

This information is provided courtesy of the pediatricians at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. UCLA Health pediatricians are conveniently located in your neighborhood. In addition to our Children’s Health Center in Westwood, we have offices in Brentwood, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. All health and health-related information contained in this publication is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional.

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