Halloween Costume Safety Tips
From the candy to Halloween costumes, this is a fun-filled time for kids and parents. Although it’s been a warm October, the signs of fall are certainly around us. The leaves on the trees are turning, haunted houses are popping up. There’s a nip in the air, pumpkin patches are in full swing and children’s Halloween costumes are being planned. We wanted to offer a few tips on dressing your little ghouls and goblins.
Does your costume block your vision?
Masks, wigs and eye patches may make an outfit complete, but make sure these accessories don’t significantly obstruct your field of view. Some masks are very dangerous for children because they make it hard to breathe, block their side vision, and can cause a trip hazard. Consider decorating your child’s face with non-toxic face paint or makeup. Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover your kids’ eyes, noses, or mouths.
Avoid over the counter decorative contact lenses.
Although it’s illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons. Don’t buy or wear decorative contact lenses that have not been prescribed by an eye doctor. The decorative lenses make the wearer’s eyes appear to glow in the dark, create the illusion of vertical “cat eyes,” or change the wearer’s eye color. These lenses are particularly popular for teens.
Decorative lenses from unlicensed manufacturers may be made from inferior plastic or may contain toxic dyes. Besides, untrained individuals may not follow proper hygiene in inserting or removing the devices. Eye infections related to improper wearing and handling of contact lenses can rapidly develop into corneal ulcers, which can cause permanent blindness.
No long costumes.
Long costumes can cause a trip hazard. To prevent falls, avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes. Make sure the rest of the costume fits well. Be sure your child’s costume ends above their ankles to avoid a fall. Use well-fitting shoes or boots for safe walking. Make sure your child’s costume is flame resistant and avoid baggy, billowing skirts and cloaks that might brush against a candle-lit jack-o’-lantern or luminary.
Use FDA approved makeup.
If you decide to disguise your child with makeup instead of a mask, use hypo-allergenic options and keep it away from the eyes. Make sure that any color additives to the face paint are FDA approved (check the Summary of Additives on the FDA website). When applying makeup near or around the eye, stay away from the lid margin, or lash line—the area where you would normally apply eyeliner. If you are applying make-up very close to the eye, use only products approved for use in that area such as an eyeliner or eyeshadow. Do not use blush or lip-liner to create a “red” effect. It is a good idea to carry a damp towel or washcloth in case the makeup begins to run while trick-or-treating.
Don’t allow sharp objects to be used as props.
Some costumes don’t seem complete without swords or wands. Elementary and nursery schools are very strict in prohibiting these props for school parties. Sharp, pointed props endanger your child’s eyes as well as the eyes of other children. If your child must carry a sword, find a belt carrier or scabbard where the sword can stay safely nestled while the kids roam the neighborhood. Buy or construct only accessories made of soft or flexible materials.
Make sure costumes are reflective.
If the costume your child chooses is not made of reflective material, sew on reflective fabric strips or use stick-on strips of reflective tape. You want your child to be seen, especially crossing streets in the dark. Place reflective material on the front, back and sides of your child’s costume. Give kids flashlights with fresh batteries. Kids may also enjoy wearing glow sticks as bracelets or necklaces. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the risk of children being hit by a car is higher on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Use the Buddy System.
Small children should always be accompanied by an adult. Older children should never trick or treat alone. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
Check Your Child’s Candy.
When they get home, it’s time to check the loot! Discard any candy with holes in the wrappers, or homemade goodies unless it is from someone you know. You may want to limit how much candy they can have following a night of haunting!
Happy haunting….be informed, be safe and have a Happy Halloween.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.