Halloween safety 101: Tips to keep your kids safe

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- With Halloween just days away, police and fire departments throughout the Valley are teaming to help you keep your little ghosts and goblins safe.

While the holiday is filled with frightening fun, it is also poses a variety of potential dangers. Police and fire departments alike are always busy on Halloween.

Safety experts say there are several things parents can to do to ensure and safe and fun Halloween for everyone.

Below are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

•  Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

•  Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

•  Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.

•  When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.

•  If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.

•  Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.

•  Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.

•  Teach children how to call 911 if they have an emergency or become lost

•  A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

•  If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

• Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

• Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters to be extra careful when crossing streets.

• Trick-or-treaters should stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

• Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.

• Never cut across yards or use alleys.

• Don’t assume the right of way when crossing a street. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.

•  Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

•  A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.

•  Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.