With millions of children preparing for a night of trick-or-treating, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) is encouraging parents, grandparents, and guardians to take simple precautions in order to prevent accidental poisoning this Halloween.
“Halloween is an exciting time for children. However, each year, poison centers from around the country manage numerous exposure cases involving Halloween-related substances, such as candy, glow sticks, and special cosmetics,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director. “Adults can take some simple precautions to help avoid poisonous exposures and ensure that children have a safe holiday, like saving Poison Help as a contact in their mobile phones so they’re prepared in the event of an emergency, or if they have questions.”
AAPCC offers the following simple safety tips to help prevent exposures and injuries on Halloween:
Candy and treats:
- Inspect all candy for any signs of tampering (tears, pinholes, discoloration, etc.) before eating or allowing children to eat.
- Check all candy and edibles for choking hazards.
- Children should avoid eating homemade treats from strangers, and any treats that may contain marijuana or other drugs. If you suspect a child has consumed candy containing a drug, call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222 for immediate assistance.
- Test face makeup in a small area of skin first (preferably on the arm) to check for allergic reaction before applying it to the face. Avoid decorating the face or body with products that aren’t intended for the skin.
- Avoid the eye area when applying costume makeup to the face, as well as remove makeup before bedtime to prevent eye and/or skin irritation.
- Throw out any makeup that has a very bad smell; this could be a sign of contamination.
Other Halloween hazards:
- Remind children not to chew on or break open glow sticks or any other glow-in-the-dark products. While the liquid is considered minimally toxic in small amounts, it can cause skin irritation. Swallowing glow stick liquid can cause nausea and burning. Eyes are especially sensitive to glow stick liquid. Never put these products in the microwave.
- Handle dry ice properly and carefully. Oral/skin exposure or ingestion of dry ice can cause significant damage. Do not store dry ice in the freezer or an unventilated area.
Poison centers are available to provide free, confidential, non-judgmental information and treatment advice 24-hours per day, seven days a week, including holidays. If you have any questions, or if you or someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance, call the Poison Help line immediately at 1(800) 222-1222. AAPCC has also recently published a new Autumn Poison Prevention webpage at http://www.aapcc.org/prevention/autumn-poison-safety/.
AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, CDC, FDA and EPA, as well as private industry.