Halloween can present its share of challenges and concerns to parents and pet owners alike, but safety measures and precautions should by no means take the fun out of this unique and special holiday. There are simple adjustments you can make to make your child’s and/or pet’s experience and yours a safe and pleasant one.
Around the House
Jack-o-lanterns are something of a time honoured tradition. While there are carving kits created for kids, they should always have adult supervision. The safest idea especially with younger children, is to decorate the outside of the pumpkin(s) using poster paints and glued embellishments, card stock or even felt. This encourages kids to unleash their creativity and also avoids blades and candles. If you choose to do a traditional jack-o-lantern, you can use a battery-operated LED candle to prevent a fire hazard. Not only can kids knock over a pumpkin with a lit candle, but pets can be injured as well, either through exercising their curiosity or by knocking it down.
Keep any food and drinks out of reach of pets. In fact, it’s best to create a safe zone for your pet with a bed, food and water and quiet. Not only can they eat or drink something they shouldn’t and become extremely ill, but the noise and excitement of the party may also be too much for your furry friend to process. Whereas, if they are in a safe place with some favourite toys and their food, and you check on them every couple of hours, they’re sure to be a lot more relaxed and less likely to get into mischief or get hurt.
Make sure the costume fits properly and try to find alternatives to masks. Kids often want to be their favourite characters. For girls, it’s a bit easier because that often means a princess or a witch, which is easily accomplished with non-toxic makeup. For boys, it might be a little tougher to create a robotic superhero’s face out of makeup. If you absolutely cannot avoid a mask, be sure that there is plenty of room for them to see and they are able to easily breathe while wearing it. Overall, you want to make sure there are no tripping hazards and that their vision is unobstructed.
As for pets, this is a time when you need to be especially sensitive to their needs. If you buy a costume and expect them to wear it, they might not buy into that idea and can be very uncomfortable. Watch their reactions and, if they’re not comfortable, remove the costume and replace it with a festive collar or bandana.
Safety In the Streets
It’s super easy to get distracted on Halloween, for drivers and trick-or-treaters alike. For that reason, it’s important to be easily seen. Simply adding some reflective tape to a candy bag, their shoes and flashlight will help make them more easily seen. Another thing to consider when helping your child choose a costume is visibility. Brightly coloured costumes aren’t as scary, but they are definitely easier to see.
Inspect your child’s candy when they get home from their trick-or-treating adventures. Invite them to be a part of the process and talk about why certain pieces were rejected. Take this time to explain to them why the candy needs to be kept away from pets, even the discarded wrappers. Chocolate is especially toxic to pets, which cause anything from seizures to death, depending on how much is digested. Wrappers of any kind can become trapped in a dog or cat’s digestive tract causing lots of pain and often requiring surgery. Obviously, you don’t want to frighten your child, but tell them what’s age appropriate. Above all, have a safe and happy Halloween experience!
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.