Halloween is a time for fun and treats for princes, princesses and superheroes, but experts at the West Virginia Poison Center want parents to use caution and to keep safety in mind for their trick-or-treaters.
When in doubt, throw it out. Inspect Halloween candy before eating it. Throw away all candy with wrappers that are faded, torn, unwrapped or partially wrapped. If children have dinner before heading out to trick-or-treat, they may be less likely to eat the candy before it is inspected.
Only eat homemade treats from people you know.
Do not store Halloween candy near medicine of any kind. Children can easily mistake medicine for candy.
Eating too much candy can cause stomach aches and diarrhea from an overload of sweeteners.
Small, hard pieces of candy can be a choking hazard for young children. Throw away any candy that is not age-appropriate.
Remember your pets! Chocolate can be poisonous for dogs, as can sugar-free gum. Store candy where pets cannot get to it.
Think safety. Only paint faces with paint labeled as being non-toxic and for use on the face.
Glow sticks, glow necklaces and glow bracelets are great as long as the liquid does not leak. Make sure glow products children are using are not leaking and that they do not put them into their mouths. Fortunately, most exposures to these products can easily be managed at home.
Avoid the use of costume jewelry. Products made outside of the U.S. may contain lead which can be harmful if swallowed. If the decision to use costume jewelry is made, make sure it is intact before it is put on and after it is taken off. Do not let children suck on it or put it in their mouth. Do not allow children to play with it after Halloween is over.
"Halloween and trick-or-treating is a time of excitement for children. Unfortunately, many poisonings occur when a person's normal routines are disrupted," says Carissa McBurney, community outreach coordinator for the West Virginia Poison Center. Call the medical experts at the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 with questions regarding all Halloween poisoning concerns. If you suspect a poisoning, call the WVPC immediately; do not wait for symptoms to appear.
The West Virginia Poison Center provides comprehensive emergency poison information, prevention and educational resources to West Virginians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The WVPC is staffed by nurses, pharmacists and physicians with special training in treatment of poisonings. Located in Charleston, the WVPC is a part of the West Virginia University-Charleston Division and located next to CAMC Memorial Hospital. The website is www.wvpoisoncenter.org.