Halloween is here again, and many parents may be wondering what they can do to protect their trick-or-treaters. To help ensure that all those little Batmans and Freddy Krugers have a safe Halloween, the following recommendations for parents and children have been compiled by CareUnit of San Diego and the San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers:
* Young children should go trick-or-treating while it is still light and be accompanied by an adult.
* Parents should make sure that their children's costumes are made of flame-retardant material and avoid costumes made of flimsy materials that are easily ignited.
* Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping, and flat shoes should be worn.
* Children should carry a flashlight and wear reflective strips on their costumes in case they are out after dark.
* Children should wear light-colored costumes that can be seen by drivers.
* Trick-or-treaters should stay in their own neighborhoods and visit only the homes of people they know.
* Children should accept only wrapped candy, and parents should insist that they bring back their treats for examination. Discard any candy that is not in its original wrapper or looks as if it may have been tampered with.
* Parents should remind children of basic safety precautions that include using sidewalks and crosswalks, skipping houses that have no lights on and watching out for traffic. If you are driving on Halloween, take special care in watching for trick-or-treaters.
* Pencils, stickers, dice, finger puppets, nuts, raisins and sugar-free candy can be offered as alternative treats.
* Those expecting trick-or-treaters should remove objects from their yards that present a hazard to children, such as garden tools and portable sprinklers.
* Parents should be sure that small children supervised at all times.