American Association of Poison Control Centers: Keep Halloween Safe for the Whole Family
Halloween is full of both manufactured and legitimate scares: It’s the good kind of scary for kids, who love dressing up as something spooky, but can be the bad kind of scary for parents, who worry about the dangers of accepting goodies from strangers as well as the inevitable sugar high that trick-or-treating brings. But some of the scariest parts of Halloween are the ones parents don’t think of.
With that in mind, the American Association of Poison Control Centers offers a few tips aimed at making the Halloween a little less frightening for parents:
• Carry a flashlight after the sun goes down, and make sure excited trick-or-treaters don’t inadvertently wander in the way of passing cars.
• Stay in local and familiar neighborhoods. Send an adult with young children.
• Avoid barking dogs or other upset animals.
• Put trick-or-treaters in brightly colored costumes made of flame-resistant materials. Add some reflective tape on trick or treat bags to make sure your child is visible after it gets dark.
• Keep candle-lit Jack-o-Lanterns off doorsteps and out of the way of foot traffic. Fire hazards could be a danger to trick-or-treaters dealing with long or cumbersome costumes.
• If your child uses makeup rather than a mask, keep an eye out for possible skin irritation, including a rash or itching. If your child develops a rash, remove the makeup immediately and wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. Some kids may get creative with make-up substitutes and use shoe polish, paints or other household products. Shoe polish, inks, or felt tipped markers may contain petroleum, solvents or aniline dyes that can irritate skin and be harmful if ingested. Also be careful with glitter. Glitter in the eye as a consequence of being applied to eyes, face or even hair can result in injury to the eye.
• Inspect all treats before the kids eat them. Eat only treats in original and unopened wrappers. If wrappers are faded, have holes, tears or signs of rewrapping, throw them away. Throw away all unwrapped candy or treats.
• Check fruits and homemade goodies for foreign objects that may have been inserted or injected, including pins, metal needles or razor blades. Cut fruit into several sections to check for foreign objects.
• Be wary of dry ice. While dry ice is a great special effect for a party, keep small pieces of it out of individual drink glasses. Dry ice can cause frostbite if it comes in contact with the skin or mouth.
• Glow sticks contain dibutyl phthalate and can be an irritant to eyes on splash contact and
sometimes skin. Parents may be alarmed at the neon glow of their child’s teeth or skin, but rest
assured that a taste amount is non-toxic.
• Not all strange-looking candy is dangerous. Some are simple “candy manufacturing boo-boos.”
Before you panic, consider that white flecks could be starch and glassy pieces could be crystallized sugar. But if in doubt, toss it out – there is more than likely a ton more candy left to enjoy.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 60 poison controlcenters in their efforts to keep trick-or-treaters of all ages safe every day of the year. Poison centers offer free and confidential services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For questions about poisons on Halloween and any other day of the year, call your local poison control center at 1 (800) 222-1222.