Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Halloween safety for children

by 21st Space Wing safety office

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids to dress up and go trick-or-treating. The hours for trick-or-treating on base are 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 31.

To ensure everyone’s safety, the 21st Space Wing Safety Office has compiled a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

All dressed up:

· Plan costumes that are bright and reflective; shoes should fit well and costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame

· Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility

· Masks can limit or block eyesight, so parents may wish to consider dressing their children in non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives

· Hats should fit properly to prevent from sliding over eyes

· When shopping for costumes and accessories, purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant

· If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of a child’s costume, parents should make sure it is not sharp or too long as children can easily be hurt by these accessories if they stumble or trip

· Escorts should carry flashlights with fresh batteries

· Children should know how to call 911 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost

Carving a niche:

Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers; then parents can do the cutting. Votive candles are safest for candle lit pumpkins. Candle lit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects.

Home safe home:

To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps. Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

On the trick-or-treat trail:

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. If older children are going alone, parents should plan and review an acceptable route and agree on a specific time when their children should return home.

Parents may wish to tell their children to only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a house or car for a treat.

Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters to stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

Parents may wish to have their children carry a cell phone for quick communication, and a flashlight or glow stick for visibility. Children are advised to remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, they should walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic, never cut across yards or use alleys and only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.

Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will. Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Healthy Halloween:

A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. Parents may wish to consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit their home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils

Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

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