Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Safety with Toddlers & Preschoolers: Four Tips

I got an email from Health Canada today with a link to this page detailing a fairly exhaustive set of safety tips for Halloween. But reading through, it dawned on me that a lot of it is aimed at families with older children. Our four-year-old & one-year-old are a whole other kettle of fish! So I thought I'd share with you some of the things that we do to keep these two monkeys safe around Halloween.

Skip the candles. Burns from hot wax or fires caused by knocking over candles are a danger, whether you have kids or pets or none of the above. We use either LED 'tea lights' in our jack-o-lanterns, or bike lights. The bike lights are kinda cool, as they create a red glow & can be set to flash too.

Keep the costumes simple. Flowy costumes can catch fire or trip kids. Masks make it hard to see & walk. Now I love making things, especially costumes, so I have to reign in my tendencies to go overboard on the costumes for my kids. Luckily, having two children means I don't have the time to make them intricate outfits. The last few years Linnaeus has worn the practical two-piece costumes like the ones you get from Old Navy. He's been a bat, an elephant, & a fox. All of them left his face free so he could see & walk well. They were warm & toasty for the chilly damp trick-or-treating & watching fireworks. Plus they're durable to hand down to siblings, cousins, & friends or consign, & washable afterward.

Contain the kids. Traffic safety is a big thing on Halloween night. We're going to try something new this year now that we've got two walking children: a castle on wheels! Whaaa? Okay, let me go back a step. We're going to decorate our wagon to look like a castle for our little dragon & bat to ride in for the longer gaps between houses (a lot of people in our area don't give out treats, so there's more walking involved than some neighbourhoods) & crossing the streets. I picked up some glow-in-the-dark tape to add to the cardboard ramparts we'll attach on the outside of the wagon & we may tie on some bike lights as well, just for good measure.

Do the old switcheroo. My four-year-old is able to handle most types of candy that we'll probably encounter this Halloween, but I don't trust my one-year-old not to choke on small, chewy or hard sweets. I bought a bag of plain chocolate that I'll trade for some of the candy she won't be able to eat so she still gets to participate. I will see if my son wants to trade with his little sister too. Truth be told, they're both still young enough that I can get away with 'pruning' their supply of trick-or-treating candy, so I may make some of it disappear myself after they've gone to bed.

Have you got any further suggestions on Halloween safety for little kids? I'd love to see them in the comments below...

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