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National Child Safety Expert, Alison Rhodes, “The Safety Mom,” is one of the country's leading child safety authorities, providing tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues facing all children - newborns to teens.

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Tips for a Safe Halloween Night
by Alison Rhodes

Before your little ghosts and goblins set out for a scary night of trick-or-treating, be sure their prepared to be safe. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you're planning their evening:

There's safety in numbers: If your child's old enough to go out without an adult, make sure they will be trick-or-treating with several friends and be sure you know who they are. Establish a route they will take and set a curfew for when they need to be home. If your child doesn't have a cell phone, let them use yours for the evening. If they are younger and are going out with a friend's parent, contact the parent ahead of time to make sure you know where they will be and a cell phone number to reach the parent. Be sure the parent also knows where to reach you.

Keep it light: If possible, try to create or select a costume in a lighter color which is easier to see in the dark. Place a piece of reflective tape on both the front and back of the costume and also purchase a few glow bracelets or necklaces for your child to wear.

No strings attached: For younger children be sure there are no long strings near the collar of the costume which could pose a strangulation hazard. Also, make sure the costume is not too long which could cause your child to trip (one of the leading causes of accidents at Halloween are falls). Rather than wearing a mask, which might cause limited vision, try non-toxic paint and make-up to create a scary face.

Know the neighborhood: If possible, trick-or-treat in a community where the homes are close together and well lit or, in a city, choose one or two apartment buildings in which you have friends. Only go to areas where there are sidewalks and street lamps. Stay away from homes and roads that are poorly lit. Remind your child to never enter a house, always stay outside the door!

No Pets Allowed: Keep pets in a room away from the front door. Even the friendliest dog could become anxious or aggressive with so many different people coming to the door in strange costumes.

Save the treats for home! Remind your child to not eat anything that they receive until they return home and it can be checked. Anything that is not in an original wrapper should be thrown out. Be careful that candy is not shared with younger siblings - items with nuts, caramel and raisins as well as hard candy and popcorn are all choking hazards for children under the age of five.

And most importantly, remind your child never to get into a car with someone they don't know. If someone approaches them, and they feel at all uncomfortable, explain to them that they should go to the nearest lit home and ring the door.

While these tips won't help prevent the sugar over-load that will inevitably occur, it will help to ensure they arrive home safe and sound.

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