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The candy aisles are stocked and the Jack-O-Lanterns illuminated, reminding us that Halloween is just around the corner. While children eagerly plan their Halloween costumes, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital offers parents tips for a fun, but safe Halloween.
• Make sure your child eats dinner before setting out. Children will be less likely to eat too much candy and will have more energy for the fun ahead.
• An adult should accompany children under 12 years old.
• Children ages 13-15 should travel in groups of at least three.
• Trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, where you know the neighbors. Consider going during daylight hours.
• Only visit homes with decorations, outdoor lighting and porch lights illuminated.
• Teach your child his or her phone number. An older child can carry a cellphone to check in while away from home, but remind the child about the dangers of distracted walking.
• Instruct children never to enter a home or apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
• Remind children never to accept rides from strangers.
• Drivers should go slowly all evening. Adult Halloween party-goers should have a designated driver.
• Children should be educated to obey all traffic rules.
• Insist that children show you all their goodies before they sample them. Inspect candy for tampering. Never eat fruit, unwrapped items, or candy not in its original wrapper.
• A few days after Halloween, put the candy out of sight and out of mind. You can ration out the treats later.
• If you want to provide non-candy alternatives for trick-or-treaters, consider packages of crackers, single-serve boxes of cereal, granola bars, packaged fruit rolls, mini-boxes of raisins and single-serve bags of chips or popcorn. Non-edible treats including pencils, stickers and erasers also are good alternatives.
• Have children wear costumes with light, bright colors that will be clearly visible to motorists; attach reflective tape, glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark accessories to increase visibility at night.
• Make sure that costumes—including wigs, masks and beards— are flame resistant, and remind children to stay away from open flames, candles and jack-o-lanterns.
• Make sure that masks do not impair vision.
• Avoid costumes with big, baggy sleeves; billowing skirts; or long, dragging hems that could cause someone to trip. High-heels or oversized shoes also can cause accidents.
• Make sure that swords, knives and other props are made of flexible material and do not have sharp edges.
• Attach your child's name, phone number (including area code) and address inside your child's clothing in case the child gets separated from adults.
For more information about Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, call 803-296-KIDS(5437) or visit PalmettoHealth.org/ChildrensHospital.