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Keeping your kids safe during dangerous Halloween days

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 24 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 25 2012 06:52:41 PM CDT

Halloween is a great time for kids but it turns out it can be scary for parents.

Halloween is a great time for kids but it turns out it can be scary for parents.

U.S. Census estimated 41 million children between the ages of 5-14 could hit the streets on Halloween and the risk of a child being hit by a car is roughly four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year. Other common Halloween injuries include burns, lacerations and eye trauma from sharp objects.

"We usually will see a lot more injuries like trips and falls and minor burns from candles," said Doctor Amy Dunn of Lehigh Valley Health Network's Children's ER in Allentown.

Dr. Dunn says kids on Halloween are excited and parents are distracted and no one expects to trick or treat in the ER.

"There's always a little more traffic on any holiday where kids are out and about and doing more things," she said.

Doctors say one easy way to make sure your little one is safe this Halloween is to get a costume that fits so your child doesn't trip over a long dress or cape. And for younger children, masks aren't a great idea, face paint is better.

Experts say all children should be accompanied or supervised by parents.

Parents can help prevent children from getting injured at Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council:
-Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
-Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.
-Have their full names and phone number attached to their costumes somewhere if they are too young to remember them.
-Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them. Although the risk that your child's Halloween candy has been tampered with is extremely low, there is also the chance that his candy is unwrapped or spoiled.
-Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, they should:
-Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
-Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
-Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
-Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.
-Consider using face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child's vision.)
-Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
-Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
-Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should:
-Supervise the outing for children under age 12.
-Establish a curfew (a return time) for older children.
-Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
-Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
-Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.
-Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters
-Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
-Drive slowly.
-Watch for children in the street and on medians.
-Exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
-Have children get out of cars on the curb side, not on the traffic side.