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Keeping IL Children Safe on Halloween

October 27, 2011

CHICAGO - Most adults have fond memories of the days of trick-or-treating. Halloween can be lots of fun, but for some very young children it can be a bit overwhelming.

Dr. Karen Judy, a professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, advises parents with really little ones to talk to them before Halloween night about how "it's just pretend." When it comes time to go out, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises close adult supervision, Judy says.

"The AAP recommends that kids don't cross the street alone until they're 10 years old."

The doctor says even if young children are with a group of friends or siblings, having an adult following can be a comforting presence. As for costumes, the AAP recommends staying away from long ones that can cause children to trip and fall, and making sure they are flame resistant.

Judy says it is best if children trick-or-treat at the homes of friends and neighbors and go with friends or siblings.

"Definitely, kids should be trick-or-treating in groups, never alone, and ideally with an adult supervising."

Judy recommends putting reflective tape on costumes and staying away from masks, because they can obscure a child's vision. She adds that face paint sometimes causes problems, as well.

"Some recommend that if children are going to be wearing cosmetics, you test the cosmetic on a small area of their skin to make sure they don't have a reaction."

During busy holidays, Judy says, sometimes normally conscientious parents understandably may let their guard down.

"There's a million things going on, so I don't think it ever hurts to remind everybody to check those bags of candy for anything homemade, or not completely wrapped, or anything that looks suspicious. If in doubt, throw it out."

More ideas on how to keep children safe on Halloween are available from the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL