How to avoid a frightening Halloween

first_imgYoung children may lack the physical ability to rapidly cross the street, and their height limits their visibility to drivers. Children have reduced attention spans and lack sufficient impulse control. Children do not evaluate potential traffic threats effectively and cannot anticipate driver behavior. Before Halloween, youngsters need to be coached about what to expect – not just about the rules of crossing streets but about what’s real and what’s not. Not all children like surprises, and they count on their parents and teachers to ease them into a comfort zone. Some parents find their kids are particularly bothered when a person’s face is covered up. As preschoolers blur fantasy and reality, they’re unable to keep in mind that a real person is beneath the mask. Usually by age 6 or 7, a child can be reasoned with about what’s real and outgrows the fear. One safety rule is particularly vital for children with peanut and other food allergies: No eating Halloween candy until it’s inspected at home. Dr. Martin Belson of Atlanta says parents need to plan for safety regarding costumes, home decoration, trick-or-treating and candy. When shopping for costumes and accessories, buy only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant, says Belson, whose Web site is www.kid emergencies.com. The label “flame resistant” doesn’t mean an item won’t catch fire, but it indicates it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. Other tips from Belson: Any swords and other props should be made of a flexible material so they don’t pose a hazard if fallen on. Wait until children are home to sort and check their treats. Toss out anything that’s homemade or not prepackaged. Any hard candy is one of several choking hazards for toddlers. Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources. Can you help? Parent to Parent wants to hear more successful tips on this dilemma (Note: This is a question we have posted in a previous column): “Lately my 4-year-old son has had trouble playing by himself. He is at loose ends when his brother, who is 6, is not home. We recently had a baby girl, and while I can attribute some of my son’s behavior to new-baby anxiety, I can’t dismiss it. We can’t do play-dates all the time!” – MOTHER IN RALEIGH, N.C. If you have tips or a question, please e-mail us at p2ptips@att.net. Betsy Flagler, a journalist based in Davidson, N.C., teaches preschool and is the mother of a teenage son. If you have tips or questions, please e-mail us at p2ptips@ att.net or call Parent to Parent at 704-236-9510.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A few days into fall, three young siblings crowd a drugstore costume aisle to try on masks. “Only happy faces,” the big sister counsels. “No, scary ones,” her little brother shouts as he looks for the most frightening monster. No matter whether your child picks scary, happy or somewhere in between, there’s a long list of safety rules and health concerns to replay each year. Even Spider-Man and Batman, pirates and princesses, can get too excited and run out between cars instead of walking across streets at corners and crosswalks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pedestrian skills of children are limited by factors related to their size, coordination and developmental stage until about age 12: last_img

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