JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A fun evening can quickly turn from treat to trick when safety isn't top priority.
That's why you need to take steps to not only protect your kids, but any children that come on your property.
Keeping your yard well lit and free from obstacles are important steps to keeping kids safe as they trick-or-treat in your neighborhood. As you plan your haunted decorations, www.howitworks.com suggest taking the time to remove stray objects such as flower pots and hoses that kids might trip over on their way to your door.
Another tip, use battery-powered lanterns and lighting instead of candles. Candles are a potential fire hazard to both your yard and to costumes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds: All lights used for decoration, indoors and out, should carry the UL safety label. If your set from last year looks frayed or is broken, replace it.
Halloween is the one night when kids take candy from strangers. Keep them safe by making sure they don't eat any candy or other treats until an adult has inspected the loot. Howitworks.com said a a few things to look for:
Check for any signs of tampering, which could include poisoning or unsafe objects inserted through wrappers.
Throw away any unpackaged treats, including popcorn, apples and any small, unwrapped candies. Any candy with a torn wrapper -- even a small pinhole -- should also be tossed into the trash. Parents of kids with allergies should also look at the ingredients of all treats, as many candies that don't have peanuts (or other nuts) in them may have been made in peanut-friendly facilities.
You should always trick-or-treat in groups and an adult or an older child should accompany young children from door to door. Visit only houses that have lights on, and best of all visit only the homes of people you know. While out and about, stick to well-lit streets, preferably with sidewalks to keep both kids and adults alike safe from traffic.
Walk (don't run) from house to house to keep safe from cars and any obstacles unseen in the dark. Also, carry a flashlight to light the way as well as light you up for cars and other trick-or-treaters.
When it comes to costumes, whether it's store-bought or do-it-yourself, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises everyone wear costumes made of flame-resistant materials. Parents and kids who make their own costumes should consider fabrics such as nylon and polyester. Costumes and shoes should both fit well and be easy to move around in. Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping and shoes should be sturdy.
In place of masks, which can reduce vision, consider using non-toxic makeup. If the costume begs to have a mask, be sure the eye openings are large.
Finally, kids going out with a group of friends should carry a cell phone with them in case of emergency. All kids should know their home phone numbers and know how to dial 911 before going out for trick-or-treat, especially the little ones who might accidentally get lost.
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