Oregon Poison Center Offers Tips for Halloween Safety

10/27/00    Portland, Ore.

A Little Forethought Can Make for a Top-notch Trick-or-Treat Evening

Halloween is a night for costumes, candy and memories. The Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health Sciences University wants to be sure that all your little ghosts and witches have a spooktacular Halloween. Every year at this time the center receives calls from parents concerned about their children's candy, or pills their children mistook for sweets.

The Oregon Poison Center's tips for a safe Halloween:

  • Parents should check all candy before it is eaten.
  • Try to keep your child from eating treats before they get home. Give them a treat before they go out or while they are going door-to-door.
  • Eat only treats that are in their original, unopened wrappers. If the wrappers are faded, ripped or appear re-wrapped throw them away.
  • Thoroughly check fruits and homemade goodies for foreign objects, such as pins, needles and razor blades. Fruits should be cut into several sections.
  • Remember to keep your child's treats away from pets. Some, especially chocolate, can be poisonous to pets.
  • If your child's costume uses makeup, be sure to watch for skin irritations. Should a rash occur, thoroughly cleanse the area with soap and water.

The staff at the Oregon Poison Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All operators are registered nurses who specialize in poison information. Tonya Drayden, R.N., M.S.N., public education coordinator for the poison center, emphasizes how important it is to use their services. "Often people wait too long. Some poisons do have a delayed effect, but the time to act is in the first hour. Even if the person just suspects a poisoning, it's best to call us and talk about it instead of waiting." Drayden adds, "No question is too small."

If you ever suspect that your child, pet or loved one has been poisoned call the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU immediately. The number for the Portland area is 503 494-8968, 800-452-7165 for calls outside the Portland metropolitan area.