Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids at both school and at home. Costumes are a major part of this celebrated time and to ensure the safety of children, Dr. Romik Zadorian, Emergency Physician with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital reminds us to follow these basic rules from the 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics.

First, 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. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.

 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 long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.

 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.

 Also, review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever 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.

 And finally, because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters to stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Carry a cellphone for quick communication. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk and if no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. Never cut across yards or use alleys!  Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks as recognized by local laws and never cross between parked cars or out driveways and don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!

Dr. Romik Zadorian is an Emergency Room Physician with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital

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