Halloween safety tips from state
public health director
Send a link to a friend
[October 27, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- To help make sure
everyone has a safe Halloween this year, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state
public health director, has some warnings for both adults and kids.
"Halloween can be a fun and exciting night, but it can also be
dangerous. There are many safety issues you need to consider when
choosing a costume, trick-or-treating, decorating and driving," said
According to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four times as many
children age 5-14 years of age are killed because of falls, being
hit by a vehicle or other accidents on Halloween evening compared
with any other night of the year. The National Fire Prevention
Association also reports an average of seven deaths and $24.9
million in property damage each year in the United States as the
result of home fires caused by Halloween decorations, the majority
Halloween celebrations can also lead to serious
injuries. Adults considering wearing colored contacts as part of
their costume need to make sure they are fitted by a professional.
Colored lenses purchased without proper examinations and fittings
can cause corneal scratches, infections and potential blindness.
Only eye care professionals licensed in Illinois are authorized to
prescribe contact lenses, and retailers are forbidden to sell lenses
without a valid prescription. Stores selling lenses without a
prescription can be served with cease-and-desist orders and could
also be subject to civil penalties of $10,000.
"Stopping unlicensed practice is always a challenge, but
conducting compliance audits at this time of year and imposing the
maximum allowable fine for any violation will gain the attention of
retailers who are breaking the law but find the profits hard to give
up," said Daniel E. Bluthardt, director of the Division of
Professional Regulation with the Illinois Department of Financial
and Professional Regulation. "We will continue to invest resources
into cutting off the supply of nonprescription cosmetic contact
lenses and hope to see a reduction in the number of infections as a
The following are tips for a safe Halloween.
inspect all treats and throw away any unwrapped or loosely
Homemade items or
baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who
Parents of young
children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts,
hard candies and small toys.
Inspect commercially wrapped treats for
signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or
discoloration, pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Dispose of
anything that looks suspicious.
Should be bright,
reflective and flame-retardant.
Be sure children
know how to "stop, drop and roll" in the event their clothing
Use face paint
instead of masks, which can interfere with a child's vision, or
wear masks that are well-fitting, with eye- and ear-holes that
do not obscure sight or hearing.
To reduce the
likelihood of tripping, children should not wear long, baggy or
loose costumes or oversized shoes.
Accessories should be flexible and made
of soft material, not sharp or pointed.
[to top of second column]
Parents should also...
younger than 12 years of age who are trick-or-treating.
Not send children
out on an empty stomach. You don't want kids munching on treats
before there is a chance to inspect them.
trick-or-treating route in a known neighborhood and set a return
Establish a curfew for older youth.
Not enter homes or
apartments without adult supervision.
Walk, not run,
from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen
objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
Not ride bicycles,
which could catch costumes in the chains and spokes.
Travel in groups
when adult supervision is not provided.
and look both ways before crossing the street.
Stay on sidewalks,
not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left
side of the road, facing traffic.
Not cross the
street between parked cars.
Go to familiar
neighborhoods. Only go to well-lit houses and remain outside
while waiting for treats.
especially in residential areas.
Enter and exit
driveways and alleyways slowly and carefully.
Watch for children
darting out from between parked cars.
Have children get out of cars on the
side by the curb.
Turn on an outside
light if welcoming trick-or-treaters.
Clear walkways and
Keep dogs and
other animals inside and away from the door.
flammable decorations, such as dried flowers, cornstalks and
crepe paper, away from all open flames and heat sources,
including light bulbs and heaters.
Use flashlights as alternatives to
candles or torch lights when decorating for trick-or-treaters.
If using candles to illuminate jack-o'-lanterns, place pumpkins
well away from anything that can burn, including doorsteps,
walkways and yards.
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]