Halloween Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

The very same things that make trick or treating so much fun can pose safety risks to babies and young children. Here are a few (well tested) tips to protect your littlest ghouls and goblins.

Buddy Up: Assign one parent or caretaker to each child and hold hands. The crowds and the dark make it easy for children to get separated or momentarily “lost”. If your spouse or partner is home doling out candy, make arrangements to trick or treat with another mom.

Tripping: Toddlers are called Toddlers because they “toddle”. Dark streets, high porch steps, less than pristine sidewalks and frenetic school-age children can cause falls. Dress your toddler in sneakers, cut or hem long capes or other tripping hazards, hold your child’s hand and always bring a strong, working flash light.

Stroller safety: The same broken sidewalks, crazed crowds and lack of visibility make using a stroller a bit tricky (excuse the pun). Use your most durable, road ready, stroller and never forget to buckle baby in. Sitting low in a stroller  puts your baby at a higher risk for dog bites.

Choking Hazards: Remind your toddler that candy and candy wrappers are dangerous for babies. It will be one of the few times that your toddler won’t be encouraged to “share”.

Costume Caution: Long capes can cause tripping, masks often block children’s ability to see and loose strings around necks are potential strangulation risks.  Keep your child’s hands free by leaving wands, shields and other accessories at home.

Safe Carrying: It is easy to get bumped, tripped or even (inadvertently) pushed over while you are walking with baby in a carrier or sling. Wear bright or reflective clothes, keep your hands as free as possible, and don’t forget a newly charged cell phone.

Baby Costumes: Two years ago, a mother at my daughter’s pre-school dressed her six month-old in an incredibly elaborate peacock costume. Heavy headdress, lawyers of chiffon and a fan of tail feathers. Instead of bringing your baby out in full regalia consider taking a picture of your little peacock before you set out. Dress your baby in cotton layers, hat and socks/slippers to cover their feet. If your baby uses a pacifier, use a clip-able paci strap so you don’t have to bend over to retrieve Mr. Binki in the dark.

Stick Close to Home:  Meltdowns, emergency potty breaks and costume malfunctions are all great reasons to stay close to home and limit time spent trick or treating. If your toddler insists on staying out longer (and it is OK with you), head home  and let your partner take your little pumpkin our for a last spin.

Remember, you don’t have to keep your home “open for business” all night. Your children’s sleep, as well as your own, should be a priority. Simply turn off the lights on the porch and tack a “See You Next Year” sign on the door. Because no amount of candy is as sweet as a little more sleep.

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