From candy to costumes, Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents
alike. However, it is also a holiday that can pose dangers to youngsters.
When purchasing a costume, look for the label flame-resistant (material will resist burning) or flame retardant
(material will not burn).
Choose a light-colored costume and add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back so your child can be
Avoid costumes with masks, wigs, floppy hats or eye patches because they can restrict breathing and
obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full
Ensure that costumes fit properly as loose-fitting material may cause your child to trip or fall. Make sure
that any props, such as wands or swords, are soft and made from flexible materials.
"Caution should be used when dressing children in costumes with strings that could wrap around their
necks (cowboy hats with strings, beads, neckties, etc.)," said John Vaughn, M.D., a family physician in
Accompany children under age 10 on their rounds; approve the route of older children and set a time for
them to arrive back home. Have your child carry a flashlight with new batteries and limit trick-or-treating
to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know. Only visit homes with porch
lights on and stay on sidewalks with lit streets.
Before going trick-or-treating, make sure your child has a good meal so they will not snack on the candy
they are collecting.
"As tempting as it may be, it really is best for children not to eat any candy until they get home so a
parent can inspect it for any signs of danger. Bring a small snack or a piece of candy with you from home
so that if they really want a treat right away, you will know it is safe," suggested Vaughn.
When your child gets home, inspect all treats to make sure they are safely sealed and there are no signs of
tampering such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or
glued back together. Throw out loose candy, spoiled items and any homemade treats.
"If your child has diabetes, keep the candy in a place where they cannot get into it without your
supervision and keep their insulin handy just in case," said Vaughn.
(This story is a public service of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians based in Columbus. It is a statewide professional association with more than 4,400 members, including practicing physicians, family medicine residents and medical students. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, both sexes and every disease entity. Family physicians provide comprehensive, continuing care to all members of the family.)