Doernbecher, Oregon Poison Center At OHSU Offer Tips For A Safe Halloween

10/24/05  Portland, Ore.

Dressing up for Halloween is fun for children and parents, but it also can pose a hazard. To keep trick-or-treaters out of harm's way, Doernbecher Children's Hospital Safety Center and the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU offer some Halloween safety advice.

"Darkness and rain make it difficult for motorists to see small children, so dress them in bright, reflective clothing and send them out with a flashlight to increase visibility," said Scott Shipman, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of Doernbecher Children's Safety Center. "Be sure children walk, not run, on sidewalks, cross only at intersections and obey traffic signals. When trick-or-treating, children should always be accompanied by parents, even in their own neighborhood."

For Parents:
* Choose brightly colored, flame-resistant costumes that won't make children trip.
* Accompany children of all ages and visit familiar neighborhoods.
* Be sure younger children know their last name and phone number.
* Inspect all treats before they are eaten. Throw away all unwrapped candy and anything that looks suspicious, such as wrappers that are faded, have holes, tears or signs of rewrapping.
* Do not go into a stranger's home or car.
* Replace masks with hats and makeup so that children are able to see more clearly. If a mask is worn, remove it while walking from house to house.
* If makeup causes skin irritation, such as a rash or itching, remove the makeup immediately and thoroughly cleans the area with soap and water.
* Wear shoes that fit, even if they don't match the costume.
* Approach lighted houses only.
* Stay away from unknown pets and animals. Keep treats, especially chocolate, away from pets
* Carry a flashlight and only flexible props, nothing sharp.            

For Homeowners:
* Use a battery-powered jack-o-lantern candle, rather than a real flame.
* If you do use a flame, keep the jack-o-lanterns off doorsteps and away from where trick-or-treaters walk or stand.
* Be sure that paper or cloth decorations cannot be easily blown into flaming candles.
* Keep pets in a safe place away from trick-or-treaters and traffic.
* Instead of passing out candy, consider stickers, coloring books, pens and pencils.

The Doernbecher Children's Safety Center is dedicated to reducing unintentional injuries in children through education and distribution of safety products. For more information, please call 503-494-3735.

If you suspect your child has been poisoned, call the Oregon Poison Center immediately. The toll-free number is 1 800-222-1222. For more information about the poison center, visit