Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween safety tips 2014

It is always so interesting to see the trends in popular Halloween costumes.

I am probably dating myself, but I remember my years as a young nurse working at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. We would take our little band of patients who were well enough to be ambulatory trick or treating to all of the nursing stations throughout the hospital. One year 80% of the kids were dressed as ET. Another year most of them were Hulk Hogan.
 The costumes mostly consisted of little cardboard masks held on by an elastic band.

I think  that many people have gotten more creative with the costumes over the years.
Any Noe Valley pediatric patients (past or present) who want to show off their costumes on our website, send along a photo and I will get it posted!

I am brushing off the Halloween post from last year. I know it is a week early but some of the tips are all about prepping for the big day.
Have a fun, safe and Healthy Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween can be such a fun holiday, but as you can imagine, as an advice nurse we tend to hear about some of the misfortunes that can come along as part of the festivities.


Carving a pumpkin can be a very fun tradition.

Please make sure that your child's level of participation is consistent with their age and ability.

*Do watch out for the sharp implements and make sure you assign your younger child to the safer tasks. (young kids can draw on the pumpkin rather than carving.)

*Clean up the mess. Pumpkin flesh is slippery and can cause falls and injuries when dropped on the floor. Layer newspaper or old cloths under your carving workspace and clean up spills right away so no one slips or trips.

* Skip the candles, which may cause fires. A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Instead, use a glow stick (available in many colors) or flameless candle to safely illuminate your jack-o'-lantern.

Choosing a costume

Want to hear a terrifying statistic?

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

*Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.

*Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. Is your dog going along with the trick or treaters? Have them wear a glow in the dark collar!

*When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

* Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. Remind your child that they need to pay very close attention to their surroundings and avoid walking near any candles or flames...especially if they have loose flowy costumes.

*If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of the costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.

*Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child's vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup as another option.

*Always test the make up in a small area first.  Always completely remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

*Make sure that your child doesn't have any latex sensitivity before you do too heavy of an exposure. Many masks are made of latex. We actually just had a patient who had an allergic reaction to the hair tinsel.

You may want to do a test run of the costume and make up a couple of days ahead of time to rule out any allergies.

Trick or treat rules

*Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

*Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during that time if you are out driving

*A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating may discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.

*bring plenty of water along when you go trick or treating. Just trust me on this one.

*Make sure that your children know that after trick or treating, the grown up needs to pick through trick or treat bag and toss anything that looks suspicious. There is a warning out in Colorado this year about "pot Laced" treats.

That could happen here just as easily. Anything that looks like it has been tampered with should get tossed. 

* Some candies are real choking hazards. If you have a younger child in the house, make sure they don't have access to the stash

* If you have a child with nut allergies (I am sure this is NOT your favorite holiday) make sure that they turn over ALL the candy so that you can separate out anything that might cause trouble.

Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

*Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.

*Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks.(Okay, fine...maybe you don't want to be  that house, but I had to put it on the list)

*Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.

*Keep candle-lit jack o'lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.

Now..what do we do with all this candy!!!

Make a plan about how much candy they can eat at one time.

It is okay to be a little more liberal than usual for a day or two, but come to an agreement about a reasonable candy intake over the next few weeks.

Some dentists and orthodontists have buy back programs, where they will give your child a reward for turning in their candy.

You may need to be extra vigilant with teeth brushing this season.

Remember that candy freezes (and some of it is actually better that way...frozen snickers bars, yum)

My daughter Lauren was about 6 when she caught on that mom and dad were pilfering through her trick or trick bag and stealing all the good stuff. After that she guarded her stash more carefully.

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