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Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Offers Tips for Parents to Avoid a Real Scare With Their Little Vampires and Witches this Halloween

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 25, 2011 – Halloween can be a fun-filled evening for the entire family, but the holiday also can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year for young pedestrians. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is offering tips for families to make sure all trick-or-treaters gather their goodies safely.   

Cars may pose the greatest danger during Halloween. Children’s Hospital urges drivers to be on heightened alert the weekend before Halloween and the night of, because kids will be out, excited for the fun, and less likely to pay attention to traffic. Parents need to supervise young children during their trick-or-treating rounds, stay in familiar neighborhoods, and use safe pedestrian behaviors themselves as a good example to children.

“Excitement grows for kids when they get to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating,” said Barbara Gaines, M.D., director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital. “It is important for parents to make sure their children are safe pedestrians during trick-or-treating. To help keep them protected and out of the emergency room, parents should tell their children to stick to sidewalks and cross walks to avoid any potential dangers and to walk with a flashlight."

In addition to pedestrian safety on Halloween, parents and kids also should be careful when choosing a costume. Parents should help their children choose a costume that is well-fitted and does not drag on the ground to avoid trips and falls. Kids also should trade in masks that can obstruct their vision and breathing for non-toxic face paint. Purchase costumes that are brightly colored or trim dark costumes with reflective tape so children are more visible to drivers.

Children’s also offers some additional tips for parents to keep their kids safe during Halloween:

  • Instruct children not to eat any treats until they get home and have them checked by an adult. Make sure the candy is not homemade and also throw out unwrapped treats or anything that looks like it may have been opened or tampered with. Serve children dinner beforehand so they won’t be hungry.
  • Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods at homes of people you know. Don’t go to unknown neighborhoods or travel too far from home.
  • Preschool-age children and toddlers can be afraid of the scarier aspects of Halloween. Talk to younger children in advance about the difference between reality and make-believe.
  • Respect the designated trick-or-treating times in your neighborhood area – whether it be during the weekend or on Monday night, Oct. 31.

For more information and safety tips for the Halloween holiday, please visit

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