Burlington County offers advice for trick-or-treaters

The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, sheriff and the Burlington County Health Department offer tips for a safe Halloween.

“As children in your community descend into the neighborhoods with their costumes, the Burlington County Freeholders and Health Department want to make sure Halloween is enjoyable for everyone, while keeping safety in mind”, said Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien who oversees the Health Department. “Some simple safety tips will help parents protect their children while trick-or-treating.”

The Burlington County Health Department recommends the following precautions for parents:

  • Never allow children to eat candy until parents or caregivers have inspected it. Eat only treats in original and unopened wrappers.
  • When trick-or-treating at night, children should use a flashlight or glow stick to light the way and allow them to be seen in the dark.
  • Trick-or-treaters should wear brightly colored costumes made of flame resistant materials.
  • Remove Jack-O-Lanterns with lit candles inside them from doorsteps. Candles can be easily knocked over by children and pets.
  • Liquid from a broken glow stick is usually non-toxic, but if your child ingests it, call the poison experts if you are unsure or have any questions.
  • Wash hands or use a hand sanitizer after trick or treating, petting animals or picking pumpkins and apples.
  • Use non-toxic face paint or make-up as an alternative to wearing a mask.
  • Beware of peanuts or peanut oil in candies, for those with allergies.
  • Be mindful of pets. Treats such as chocolate can be poisonous to dogs or cats.
  • Make sure any items that can cause choking, such as hard candy, are given to children of an appropriate age to avoid choking.

In addition to these precautions, the N.J. Poison Information and Education System reminds parents, grandparents and other child care providers that poisonings often occur when children mistake pills for candy.

If a Halloween treat may have been poisoned, or if it has been eaten and it tastes funny or a child feels sick, caregivers should call the Poison Control Center immediately at 1 (800) 222–1222.

The Health Department also offers parents the following suggestions to encourage more nutritious holiday snacking:

  • Discuss in advance how Halloween candy will be stored and how quickly it will be eaten.
  • Make sure that children eat a satisfying meal before Halloween festivities begin, and keep nutritious snacks (like apples or carrot sticks) available for them.
  • Choose more healthful treats, such as individually-wrapped packages of dried fruits, and lower-fat treats such as individually-wrapped packages of pretzels, ginger snaps, graham crackers and vanilla wafers.
  • Organize activities at home or school where there is more control over the types of snacks available.

County Sheriff Jean Stanfield, who chairs the Traffic Safety Task Force, also urged parents to talk to their children about preventive measures they can take to ensure a safe experience. “We urge motorists and trick-or-treaters to exercise caution,’’ she said.

  • Some recommendations for trick-or-treaters are:
  • Trick-or-treat in groups and obey curfew laws
  • Only go to homes with which you are familiar
  • Never go into a home
  • Don’t tell anyone your full name or address
  • Carry a flashlight and, if available a watch and cell phone
  • Plan in advance your route, and communicate any changes to your parents

Trick-or-treaters should avoid all open flames, whether it is part of the costume or not. Candles, lighters, bonfires and fireplaces could ignite a costume and cause serious injury.

“Costumes are an important part of Halloween but alterations and safeguards may be recommended,’’ Stanfield said.

The sheriff also advised that if candy appears to have been tampered with, local police should be contacted. Parents can visit www.CandyUSA.org for information regarding possible tampering with candy or similar products.