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Simple Steps Make A Safe Halloween According To Poison Center

Friday, October 30, 2015 - Campus News -

As children get ready for a fun evening of trick-or-treating, their personal safety should be foremost on the minds of family members. Make Halloween a safe holiday by following these tips from the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information.

Eating candy immediately is great temptation for many children.  If possible, provide a meal or healthful snack right before sending children out trick-or-treating. It may help prevent children from overeating goodies while they’re out and possibly develop a stomachache.  

Although there have been no documented cases of poisoned Halloween candy being randomly distributed to trick-or-treaters, a careful examination of all treats can help reassure parents and caretakers. Throw away any unwrapped candy, as well as any package which has torn or perforated wrappers or shows signs of rewrapping.

If using face paints, glues or glitters, read the labels and make sure they are made of nontoxic materials. Some children may have allergic reactions to these products and develop a rash or itching. If this occurs, remove the makeup immediately and thoroughly clean the skin with mild soap and water. 

Glow sticks and necklaces, popular during Halloween, sometimes break or are chewed open by children. In small amounts, the liquid is considered nontoxic when swallowed. However, irritation or a rash may occur if the glow stick contents come in contact with the skin. If contact is made with the eyes, severe irritation or even burns are possible. 

When hosting a Halloween party or get-together, keep all sources of alcohol, including leftover drink cups, and cigarette butts out of the reach of children as these items can cause significant toxicity. Dry ice, often used in punch bowls to create a smoke or fog effect, should not be used in individual glasses because burns to the mouth or throat may occur if a piece is swallowed . When using dry ice, keep it in a well-ventilated area. Direct contact with skin can cause frostbite, therefore gloves should be worn when handling.

Pets may also need extra attention on Halloween. Keep candy out of their reach, as some varieties can be harmful to pets. Depending on the amount eaten, all types of chocolate are potentially poisonous to dogs, with darker varieties containing more of the toxic ingredient. Symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures or even death may occur.  Ingestion of even one standard-sized bar of semi-sweet chocolate can cause severe poisoning in a 10-pound dog.

Laura Brennan, education coordinator for the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, advises that “Halloween is an exciting time for both parents and children and a bit of precaution can help ensure a safe and happy holiday. Parents or caretakers who suspect an adverse reaction to a Halloween product or candy should call the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information at (800) 222-1222.” 

Pharmacists and registered nurses at the poison center are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 222-1222. Please do not email the poison center or a member of the poison center staff, as poisoning emergencies are not handled through email. The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information is a program of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center. For more information, log on to  

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