Halloween safety tips for families

Essentia Health shares tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics for a safe trick-or-treating experience

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For the first time since 2019, COVID-19 isn’t expected to significantly alter trick-or-treating this year.

Halloween can be really fun, but it’s not without its hazards.
Dr. Jonathan KenKnight

But, medical experts caution, there are still spooky considerations to keep in mind when celebrating Halloween. Stay safe by following these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics :

  • Accompany young children on their pursuit of treats. If older children are going out on their own, discuss and know the route, agree on a specific time they should return home and equip everyone with flashlights or glow sticks.
  • Only go to well-lit homes and stay on well-lit sidewalks to avoid pedestrian injuries — the most common injury to children on Halloween.
  • Never enter a home or car for a treat. Notify law enforcement immediately about any suspicious activity.
  • Youngsters should stay in a group and have a cellphone for quick communication.
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  • Cross streets only at crosswalks, corners or other designated areas.
  • Wear costumes that fit appropriately (to avoid tripping) and are bright and reflective, especially if your plans include being outside after dark. Reflective tape is a great way to enhance visibility.
  • Avoid sharp or long swords, canes or sticks as costume accessories.
  • Consider nontoxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks; toxic ingredients have been found in cosmetics marketed to teens and tweens.
  • Wait until you’re home to eat any treats so that you can properly sort and inspect them. Adults should closely examine all treats and throw away spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. Be mindful of babies and toddlers, who shouldn’t have hard candies or any other items that could be a hazard.
  • Before digging into their goodies, children should thoroughly wash their hands.
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“Halloween can be really fun, but it’s not without its hazards,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, an Essentia Health pediatrician. “ Following the tips above can help ensure you and your family have a spooktacular good time.”

Even if you won’t be out trick-or-treating, be mindful that others will be and exercise caution. Drive slowly in neighborhoods, keep an eye out for excited children, make sure your headlights are on and avoid distractions.

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