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Dr. Blair Davison with St. Patrick Hospital offers up some good Halloween safety tips during the Oct. 30 edition of Morning Rounds.
When it comes to costumes -- you know everyone loves costumes for their kids, and adults like to dress up as well -- do you have some tips on kind of staying safe out there?
“So, the big thing is that you want to be able to see and you also want to be seen. So, particularly for children, you want to make sure if they're going out that they're visible. So, maybe putting some reflective tape on parts of the costume. But then also, with any kind of mask -- and this really goes for adults too -- you want to make sure that you can see and that your child can see so that you avoid falls and other unfortunate events which gets to the whole fit of the costume.
“You know some costumes are great but then when you put the box on top of you and you try and walk in the box that can be tricky, so make sure you can walk right. Make sure your child can get up a curb, get up steps. There's nothing worse than trick-or-treating, but you can't get to the porch.”
“So, the other thing is you want to if you're wearing makeup you want to make do a small test package to make sure there's not some allergy to the makeup. And then no matter how great the night was, take the makeup off. Don't sleep in the makeup.”
“Of course, you want to make sure that costumes are -- particularly for little ones, but also for adults and college age kids -- that they're fire-resistant because there are sometimes open flames on this holiday and you want to make sure that if something is…not fireproof, but fire resistant and warm.”
What are some tips on heading out, you know whether you're going with your child or your child is going by themselves, if they're gathering?
“So, if they're going by themselves -- and you know for some older kids that's perfectly appropriate -- but it's a great time to sit down and remind children, even older children, of safety issues. So, don't go alone, stay with your buddies. Don't leave a buddy behind.
"I think it's always still a good idea until they're probably teenagers to have an adult maybe follow behind and just you know, kind of tail the children.
The scary thing about Halloween is that children are twice as likely to be hit by automobiles and killed on Halloween, and October is actually a really high month for rates of children being hit by cars has to do with Halloween, but also leaves and all kinds of things.
So, flashlights, reflective tape – [it’s also] a good time to remind children took how to cross streets. They get excited, they rush across to see their buddies or the cool house. So those are all important things when they're out there trick-or-treating. “And obviously, no rides from strangers.”
“So, [a] really good idea is to discuss what the policy is going to be about treats before Halloween. So, don't expect them to come home and suddenly surrender the treats if you haven't discussed that, who would do that? This can sound pretty nonsensical, but make sure your children are fed during the day of Halloween so that they don't binge on their candy because they're starving.
“You want to make sure that treats our factory wrapped and if there are handmade treats, that you know the individuals quite well who made those treats. But in general, discourage children from eating handmade treats. You can always say ‘okay accept it’, and then politely discard it later. And obviously don't go into homes for treats of people you don't know.
Now we'll kind of move to the big kids, we're talking high school age, college kids. There are lots of Halloween parties. What might you want to speak to your children about?
“Halloween is a big holiday and…it's big on college campuses. But you have to remember it also involves a lot of partying. And so it's a really good time to remind older children about responsible drinking and particularly the buddy system. People shouldn't be walking alone people are wearing masks and costumes. Don't accept a drink from somebody you don't know, and never leave a drink unattended.”
“And make sure that you remind your college-age kids…and high school-age kids, to have a fully charged phone in case they do get into a situation. Remind them to trust their instincts. If they're feeling uneasy, they need to leave. And this is also really important about costumes – [it’s] great time to dress up and show off all kinds of things but just remember that older college-age kids and adults are vulnerable to things like open flames, and so that mummy costume is going to go up like a hot torch if you get a flame near it.
What about if you’re hosting a Halloween party?
“So, if you're hosting, be a responsible host…make sure that you have alternatives to adult beverages, make sure that the treats also include a healthy option. And also, take care with flames. Make sure your decorating is not something that somebody's going to tip into…and then make sure that everybody has a safe way home.