Tag Archives: Halloween safety

Safe Halloween Costumes for Your Child

Posted by Marianne Frederick

It’s two weeks until Halloween. If you’re like me, you don’t even begin to think about Halloween costumes until about 3 days beforehand. However, this year, I vow to do better: to plan ahead and help choose the safest possible costumes.

Whether you are making or buying the Halloween costume, parents should consider what else will be on the Halloween scene. Certainly, pumpkins, sometimes with candles in them, otherwise known as jack-o’-lanterns, will be glowing on doorsteps and on front porches. So parents will want to think about “flame resistant” costumes. Many costumes use glitter, tinsel, feathers, glue, cardboard and other materials that are extremely flammable. So how to make children’s costumes less flammable?

Parents Magazine suggests a safer choice for costume fabric would be to use synthetic, flame resistant material rather than cotton, as flames can travel quickly along woven cotton. Also, capes and costumes that drape and drag the ground are not the safest choice for flammability or mobility. Keep in mind that it’s difficult for a child to see what a cape could brush against if a child is wearing any kind of mask. For safety’s sake, the less fabric involved in your child’s Halloween costume, the better; in the best case, your child’s Halloween costume should be well fitted to him or her.

To avoid, Halloween fall injuries, make sure children can see their feet, and that their ability to walk or run is not impeded by clumsy or over-sized shoes, or costumes that are too long. Accessories, like purses with long shoulder straps, belts, toy swords, wings, etc., should not cause children to lose their balance or trip and fall.

If they are wearing a mask, it should not impede their ability to see or breathe. If the mask is made of rubber or plastic, try the mask on yourself and see if you can breathe easily, if not, cut a bigger hole for easy breathing–or ditch the mask!

One more important safe-costume caution is to make sure children wear costumes which make them visible at night–Some day-glow paint, bright orange fabric or even runner’s arm-band strobe lights are all things which brighten up a costume.

Lastly, as we do every year, we suggest, that parents stay in close proximity–go with your young child on Halloween, and take a flashlight along. You’ll have a lot of fun watching them, and you’ll be there if they need you. Halloween is exciting and young children can tire easily. It’s always good to have parents and caregivers on hand to keep track of the ghosts, goblins and princesses… not to mention the dragons and mummies!

It’s Halloween… And there’s some scary stuff out here!

It may be true that we become more skeptical with age, but I was surprised after reading about a new threat to kids’ safety on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Beat website.  This is scary!

They’re small and green, but they’re not goblins– and they look like Tic-Tac™ candies. This recent threat to kids’ well being has just made its debut in the over-the-counter purchase-from-the drugstore category. Childsafetyblog.org is speaking of “Nicotine Tablets.” The tablets are flavored with mint or cinnamon and may look like breath mints or candy–and are supposed to aid those who wish to quit smoking by providing nicotine without tobacco smoke. (They also may be sold in a stick form and look like candy cigarettes.)

According to Greg Connolly of Harvard’s School of Public Health in a study published in the journal Pediatrics, if a one-year-old child would consume 10 of the candy-like pellets, “In all likelihood, they are going to have serious neurological problems.”

Apparently, both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are aware of these nicotine tablets. Now, let’s see if they make them “only available by prescription” to adults.

Meanwhile, if your kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween, please review their candy haul.  Ask them to bring the candy home before consuming it, so you can have a good look.

——

While we know it’s only just Halloween, people are saying scary things like, “There are only 57 shopping days until Christmas.” As parents, family members, and caregivers begin combing the stores for the best, safest toys, we had better be ready for what’s out there, do our homework, and know how to tackle this safe toy search!

Here are some tips suggested in a recent article by Elizabeth Pantley on buying safe toys for your baby:

  • When you purchase a child’s toy, no matter how bright you believe your little one, note the child’s age ranking on the box.  The age ranking is often there for a safety reason.
  • If a toy is painted, make sure it’s painted with non-toxic paint.
  • If toys have more than one piece, make sure to check for small, loose or detachable pieces that could become separated from the toy and be a choking hazard.
  • Check all children’s toys you purchase for any rough, jagged, or sharp edges, and rusted or broken parts. You can report those toys to the store’s manager. (Managers usually have the power to send faulty products back to the distributors.)
  • Safely pitch any plastic wrapping on children’s toys long before the holidays. Wrap toys in colorful paper yourself.
  • For babies, avoid pull toys with long cords.
  • Never give babies balloon-type toys or toys with inflatable balls which could burst or break off from the toy and become lodged in the throat.
  • If your baby has a toy box in his or her room, make sure it has a safety lid or no lid at all to avoid pinched fingers or hands, or entrapment of the child.

Let’s make childhood less scary and more safe for our kids!

———————

With appreciation to DHHS HealthBeat website, posting by Ira Dreyfuss, October 29, 2010, and

Just the Facts, Baby’s posting by Elizabeth Pantley, “The Safest Toys for Your Baby”, October 6, 2010.