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Halloween safety tips could prevent tragedies

Eileen Buckley

The day has arrived when ghouls and goblins make their door-to-door journeys in search of candy and other treats. While Halloween festivities are filled with fun, experts remind people to be aware of some dangers.

Taking some preventive steps can enhance safety, said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. In an interview with WBFO in the Rath County Office Building, she offered some tips to property owners and trick-or-treaters.

“Make sure there’s nothing loose or stuck out of the ground or any type of clutter in the path going from the street to your house that kids could trip on,” Burstein said. “Make sure you sweep up all the leaves and it’s a clear path and clean of debris even in your yard because many times kids take short cuts through yards.”

Property owners who have illuminated jack o’ lanterns,  should carefully monitor candles or use electric candles. Folks who are not home on Halloween are advised to leave the lights on and all windows and doors locked.

Parents should also take precautions when it comes to their children’s Halloween garb, Burstein said.

“It’s important first of all that their costumes are comfortable and safe. So make sure that the costumes are not too long, the pants or the dresses, kids may trip over them. Make sure that they’re not carrying sharp knives, long knives or some appendage on their costume that they could fall on or trip on.”

The health commissioner added that it’s a good idea to avoid wearing masks during neighborhood excursions, noting that they can impede breathing and vision. Dark-colored costumes, should include bright objects to make them easier to see in the dark.

Checking for tampered treats is critical and takes virtually no time, Burstein said.

“If it’s a packaged candy that you get in the store, then it’s unlikely that it’s been tampered with. But some candy that maybe comes in a bag that’s loose or it looks like the wrapping has been tampered with, then there would be concern. Usually kids get so much candy it’s not a big deal if you throw one or two items out.”

Monitoring the amount of candy your children eat is also important,  the county’s top health expert said. She encourages parents to serve a full meal to trick-or-treaters before they head out and to make a deal with them to limit candy consumption when they return home.

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