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Follow Safety Tips For Halloween Fun
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Halloween is supposed to be a fun time for kids to dress up and collect bags of candy, but the night can bring more danger to youth than an upset stomach.
When parents think of dangers, they often think of candy that has been poisoned or tampered with, and dark streets filled with strangers. But other more common dangers haunt kids.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission listed three costume-related injuries trick-or-treaters can sustain. Youth may be burned from flammable costumes catching fire from items such as candles and jack-o'-lanterns, eye abrasions from sharp objects attached to masks and costumes, and skin irritations or rashes from decorative paints.
The safety commission offered several Halloween safety tips online.
"When purchasing costumes ... look for flame resistant nylon or polyester fabrics or look for the label ëflame resistant'," the site said. "To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts."
Costumes and candy sacks should be clearly visible to motorists, a trick which can be achieved by trimming these items with reflective tape from hardware or sporting goods stores. Have children carry flashlights to aid in seeing and being seen.
Costumes should also be short enough so they don't trip kids, and shoes should be well-fitting and sturdy. It is not a good idea to let a child wear their parent's shoes. Be sure masks have big enough eye holes to allow full vision and take steps to prevent any other head wear from blocking their vision.
Costume props such as swords or knives should be made of soft, flexible material.
Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, encouraged parents and children to handle treats with caution until ensuring they are safe.
"Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering," Davis said. "When in doubt, throw it out."
Davis also warned against homemade treats and commercially produced candy where the wrapper is loose or the seal broken. She also recommended having bags of goodies x-rayed by participating hospitals or health clinics.
While Halloween provides a time when many situations are ripe for danger, kids can still enjoy a safe outing if parents and children set guidelines and work together.
"Parents should always accompany younger children from door-to-door," Davis said. "Older children may be allowed to travel in groups in familiar neighborhoods with friends, but parents should always know who they are with, the area they will be visiting and when they will be back home."