By Sarah Lyons, contributing writer
PUMPKINS, COSTUMES, AND CANDY. Halloween is a fun time of year for kids of all ages, but as you gear up for your baby or toddler’s first Halloween, keep these safety tips in mind to keep everyone happy and ready for trick-or-treating.
When your family sits down to carve pumpkins, never allow kids to handle sharp objects. Carving should be done by adults only. Traditionally, jack-o-lanterns were lit with candles. Consider using an LED light or glow stick to light your pumpkins on Halloween to keep both your own children and your visiting trick-or-treaters safe. If you do use a candle, keep the pumpkin out of reach of curious little ones.
When choosing a Halloween costume for your little one, pick something that is both comfortable and weather appropriate. Also choose bright colors for better visibility while out and about on Halloween evening. If you are a parent of a walker, pick a costume that is a comfortable length and will not cause baby to trip and fall. Masks limit visibility and are uncomfortable for babies. Face paint may be a better option.
When you venture out to trick-or-treat, have your child carry a flashlight or wear a glow stick. All children under 12 should be under adult supervision. Consider using a stroller, wagon, or harness to contain your young child or hold hands at all times as you walk. Use care to stay on sidewalks and only cross at street corners and crosswalks. It is best to visit homes where you know the residents, but if you do go to strangers’ homes, only approach if the porch light is on. Consider attending a fall festival or trunk-o-treat instead of going door to door in a neighborhood.
Most Halloween candy will be a choking hazard for small kids. Hard candy, taffy, suckers, small toys, and popcorn all present choking hazards for babies. Carefully sort through the treat bag when you get home and remove anything unsafe. Discard any homemade items unless they were received from
a trusted source. Soft chocolates and crackers are usually OK for older babies to try. Make sure to thoroughly clean their teeth after eating treats. Some organizations, like Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry locally, will accept donated Halloween candy and send it to soldiers overseas in care packages.
More Halloween tips
Remember to be flexible when it comes to babies and holiday expectations. Many people enjoy putting up spooky decorations or wearing creepy costumes. These things can seem realistic to a small child and can be frightening. If they become scared, cut the night short and go home. Keep it simple on your first (or second) Halloween. Go out early and only visit a few houses of friends and family. There will be many more years to enjoy more Halloween festivities.