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Tips to maintain Halloween safety

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In a few days, trick-or-treaters will take to the streets of Clay County in search of homes where plenty of candy will be handed out.

To help ensure those little ghosts and goblins are safe, officials at the Indiana Poison Center and local law enforcement have some safety tips to help make Halloween a happy event.

Treat safety

Make sure your children have eaten before they go trick-or-treating and give them some candy from home to eat while out to avoid the temptation to eat from their treat bags.

According to the Indiana Poison Center, an adult should check all treats -- those including fruit and homemade treats -- for faded or opened wrappers or other signs of contamination, like puncture holes, before eaten.

Pet owners should also remember that some treats, like chocolate, can be poisonous to pets.

Parents are encouraged to discard any homemade candy or baked goods in your child's treat bag unless received from someone you know and trust.

People who want to pass out treats this Halloween should consider giving non-edible treats, such as stickers, gift certificates or pencils.

Costume Safety

Paying attention to the small details and making sure a costume properly fits can help keep children safe. Avoid costumes made of flimsy materials that are too big, has baggy sleeves, billowing skirts or oversized pants to prevent children from getting caught on something and tripping and/or falling. Remember the shoes need to fit properly to keep them from being injured during a fall.

Costumes need to be bright enough to be clearly visible during twilight and nighttime hours. If not, use reflective tape. Also, to see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights (with fresh batteries) or glow sticks to make them visible to pedestrians and motorists alike.

Purchasing items with Flame Resistant labels is a good start according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although this does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate they will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.


What's a pirate without a sword? If these types of props are a must have for the costume, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury. While simulated guns, swords, knives and other similar accessories can make or break the look of the outfit they can also be dangerous. Don't let children of any age use props in a dangerous manner.

Make sure masks fit properly because they can potentially restrict breathing or obscure vision. If used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow a child full vision.

Although using cosmetics rather than wearing a mask allows maximum visibility, this creates other safety precautions to consider. Some makeup and other similar products might contain emollient laxatives, talc or hydrocarbons that can cause allergic reactions or other health concerns. Choose non-toxic, hypoallergenic cosmetics that are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and follow the instructions to prevent adverse reactions.

Pedestrian Safety

We live in a hectic world, but taking the time to go trick-or-treating with children not only creates instant family time it also helps keep them safe. National Transportation Safety Board and law enforcement officials urge adults or older responsible siblings to always accompany young children while trick-or-treating. Children should be cautioned against running from house to house and urged to use the sidewalk if available, rather than walking in the street.

It's also a good opportunity for parents to discuss the dangers of running out from between parked cars and why it's safe to stop at intersections and look both ways before crossing a street.

Safe Houses

Leaving the porch light on is the universal welcome sign for Halloween and signifies the best places for children to trick-or-treat.

However, the American Red Cross urges parents and guardians to talk with their children about why they should not enter homes or apartments unless accompanied with an adult and take the opportunity to discuss "stranger danger." Map out a trick-or-treating route so parents and their children know where they are.

People who are planning to welcome those little spooksters to their homes should make sure the sidewalk area is clear of anything that could cause someone to fall and pumpkins lit with candles are safely out of the way of flowing costumes.

Should an emergency situation arise, contact the Brazil City Police Department at 446-2211, the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 448-2535, or Indiana Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Safety matters

Important safety contact numbers to keep in mind this Halloween include:

* Brazil Police Department: 446-2211

* Clay County Sheriff's Department: 446-2535

* Indiana Poison Control: (800) 222-1222

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What are the established hours for trick or treating this weekend?

-- Posted by karebabe on Mon, Oct 26, 2009, at 2:40 PM

I like to know where u can get a $1.00 gift certificate and do I only buy 30 of them thats what I would spend on candy.

-- Posted by latdbt on Mon, Oct 26, 2009, at 3:50 PM

Thanks for spreading the word on children AND pet safety! Here's some more pet-friendly information from Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control!

Pet Poison Helpline Offers Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Advice on "treats" that pets should avoid and other Halloween hazards

Holidays can bring unique foods and materials into the house that pose special threats to animals. Halloween, with its costumes and candy, can be a dangerous and stressful time for a pet.

The following tips showcase what pet owners should watch out for around Halloween.

Tricks, not treats! Some human treats can be deadly for pets

Chocolate: Make sure your kids know to hide their Halloween stash from food-seeking dogs. Ninety-five percent of Pet Poison Helpline's chocolate calls involve dogs getting into chocolate candy. Keep in mind, the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your pet. Baker's chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem.

Other candy: Remember when you felt ill after gorging on too much candy? The same thing can happen to pets. Large ingestions of high-fat, high-sugar foods may lead to a condition called pancreatitis -- a painful and potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Signs of pancreatitis typically show up two to four days after ingesting a large high-fat meal. Monitor your pet for a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and other odd behavior.

Raisins/grapes: While small boxes of raisins are popular and healthy treats for people, keep them away from dogs. Even small numbers of raisins or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs (and possibly cats). Never offer grapes or raisins as snacks for your pets. Choose carrots, peas, green beans or apples instead.

Candy wrappers: Not only is candy toxic to pets, but so are the wrappers. Few animals will bother to unwrap Halloween treats before eating them. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers may cause a bowel obstruction when ingested in large quantities.

Halloween hazards

Glow sticks/jewelry: Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these colorful toys. Though not highly poisonous, the glowing contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth as well as profuse drooling, nausea and vomiting.

Costumes: While dressing up our pets can be entertaining, keep in mind that your pet may not enjoy it. Make sure the costume does not impair their vision or movement. Also, beware of costumes containing metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces. If ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Never dye or apply coloring to your pets' fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic, many are not meant to be ingested and can potentially cause harm.

Additionally, pets may be afraid of people dressed in costumes and may not even recognize those they typically know. Fear can cause animals to act aggressively or in an unpredictable manner. If your pet seems nervous or afraid, make sure to have a safe area for them to hide or take a "time out."

Candles: Wagging tails and curious noses do not mix with candles. Keep candles well out of reach of four-legged friends and, when possible, use safe, electric lights in jack-o-lanterns.

The best thing any pet owner can do is to be educated about the common foods and items that are potentially toxic to pets. Make sure to avoid accidentally feeding your pets human foods that may be dangerous for them and keep poisonous products out of your pet's reach. When in doubt or if you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.

-- Posted by petpoisonhelpline on Mon, Oct 26, 2009, at 9:13 PM

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