While Halloween is typically one of the highlights of a child’s year, it can be less fun for parents, who fret about everything from buying the right costume to the safety of the goodies in the trick-or-treat bag. With that in mind, the Central Texas Poison Center at Scott & White offers a few tips aimed at making the spookiest time of the year a little less frightening for parents:
- Put trick-or-treaters in brightly colored costumes made of flame-resistant materials. Every year our main exposure call is regarding glow sticks, to ensure your child is clearly visible after dark, add some reflective tape on trick-or-treat bags or have them use flashlights to light up the night.
- 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.
- Adults should always accompany young children and visits should be limited to familiar well-lit homes.
- Feed children before trick-or-treating to avoid the temptation of eating candy from their bag. Always inspect all treats before they are eaten. Teach your children to only eat treats that are in the original, unopened wrappers. Do not eat any candy that has been opened or if the candy wrapper is faded or has holes or tears.
- Check fruit and homemade treats for punctures or contamination. Fruits can be cut into sections to check for sharp objects.
Additional safety considerations include:
- Dry Ice: It can cause oral burns if swallowed. Use of dry ice in punch is ok as long as the ice is not swallowed. Skin contact with the ice may cause tissue damage and should be avoided.
- Non-Prescription Decorative Contact Lenses (sometimes called plano, zero-powered or non-corrective lenses): These lenses may cause harm if not worn properly. Although the FDA regulates the use of decorative contacts, there are many illegal sources that include local beauty salons, record stores, flea markets and the internet. Using unauthorized contacts may present risks to the eye that include corneal ulcers, corneal abrasions, vision impairment and even blindness.
- Glow Sticks and Glow Necklaces: These contain a chemical known as Dibutyl Phthalate but luckily the concentration is quite low and relatively harmless.
For pets, remember that all of the information above applies. As always, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect a poisoning. Experts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.