Tips to Make Your Halloween Safe!

Take your kids to fun and safe trick-or-treating event in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Pumpkin carving safety

Only Adults Should Carve Pumpkins

  • Never let children carve pumpkins. Kids can help by drawing a pattern on the pumpkin and removing the pulp and seeds once the pumpkin is cut.
  • A sharp knife can become wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it, causing hand injury when the knife finally dislodges from the thick skin of the pumpkin. Injuries are also sustained when the knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your hand may be holding it steady.

Use a Pumpkin Carving Kit

  • Special kits are available in stores and include small, serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue.
  • When cutting, adults should cut away from themselves in small, controlled strokes.

Help for An Injury

  • If you cut your finger or hand, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding within15 minutes, be evaluated in the Emergency Room

Halloween Safety Tips

Costume Safety

  • Be sure your kids are wearing flame-resistant costumes.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
  • Keep candle-lit Jack O’Lanterns and luminaries away from steps, walkways, sidewalks, landings, and curtains.
  • Place Jack O’ Lanterns on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • For greater visibility attach to costumes reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Halloween bags should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware and sporting goods stores.
  • Children should carry flashlights while trick or treating to see where they are walking and so that cars can see them as they walk
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips.
  • Apply a natural mask of cosmetics (avoiding the eye area) rather than a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If wearing a mask make sure keyholes are large enough to allow good vision
  • If wearing a mask, use a well-fitting masks to avoid blocked vision
  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be soft and flexible to avoid injury.
  • Test makeup on a small patch of skin before applying to face or body.
  • Don’t decorate your face with things that are not intended for skin
  • Do not use face paint near the eyes, even if the label has a picture of people wearing it near the eyes.

Diagram showing ways to prevent accidents on halloween costumesPhoto:Consumerist|CC

Trick or Treating Safety

  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child.
  • All children should walk, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street.
  • Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers.
  • Glow sticks contain a liquid that produces a temporary burning sensation and bad taste in the mouth when tasted. Small amounts that are swallowed are generally not harmful.

Choosing Safe Houses:

  • Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome.
  • Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.


Halloween Candy Safety

  • Before kids go trick-or-treating, serve a healthy meal so they’re not hungry when they collect candy.
  • To prevent temptation, know how much candy your child has collected and don’t store it in his or her bedroom.
  • Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Candy and snacks shouldn’t get in the way of kids eating healthy meals.
  • If a child is overweight — or you’d just like to reduce the Halloween stash — consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This method acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money.
  • Be a role model by eating Halloween candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.
  • Encourage your kids to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten — and to stop before they feel full or sick.

Alternatives to Candy

You also can offer some alternatives to candy to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Here are some treats you might give out:

  • Non-food treats, like stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)
  • Snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum (for older kids), trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Small boxes of cereal
  • Avoid toys that could pose choking hazards to very young children.

Children Trick-or-treating

Children Trick-or-treating — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Candy Safety

  • Parents should instruct their children not to open their candy until they return home.
  • Inspect all candy for tampering before allowing them to start eating.
  • Accept only wrapped and packaged candy.
  • Do not eat candy that has been unwrapped or opened.
  • Never eat fruit or other unwrapped items.
  • Prevent a stomach ache by limiting 2- 3 small pieces of candy at a time.
  • Throw away any candy or food that is not wrapped tightly by the candy company.
  • Accept and give out candy that isn’t easily unwrapped. Candies such as Tootsie Rolls, hard candies and certain bubble gums with twist-type wrappings can be tampered with more easily than those that are sealed.
  • When in doubt, throw it out
  • Keep small hard candies, gum, peanuts, from children under the age of five because it is a choking hazard.
  • Keep chocolate candy, raisins, and macadamia nuts away from dogs. It is toxic to them, even in small amounts.



American Society for the Surgery of the Hand

CDC. gov

American Academy of Pediatrics


Red Cross

Halloween Safety - AAA

Last Updated by Dr. Vee on October 14, 2015

The Tylenol Recall–What a Headache!

This week I went to my sample closet looking for recalled versions of McNeil children’s products. Yes, even some samples were recalled! Fortunately, I found out that I don’t have samples of any of the items. I used to be upset that I rarely received samples of Tylenol or Motrin brands, because it is nice to be able to give some to a parent when their child has a fever (or after immunizations) so that the parent does not have to stop at the store on their way home.

I guess I should be glad that I do not have to track down any patients to whom I have given samples. Since I have received a lot of telephone calls from anxious parents, I thought I better research the recalled items further.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is initiating this voluntary recall because some of these products may not meet required quality standards. This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events…Consumers can contact the company at 1-888-222-6036 and also at”

McNeil products websites go on to say, “Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles.”

McNeil has also recalled certain forms of Motrin Infant Drops (berry flavored) and Children’s Motrin ® berry flavored, dye free suspension. Remember that the infants’ version of any pain reliever is typically more concentrated than the children’s version, and so should not be used in children over the age of one year.

Even certain hospital versions of Children’s Motrin have been recalled, as well as doctors’ samples. Children’s Motrin Cold Formulas have been recalled as well. Remember, over the counter cold medicines are not safe (and also not found to be effective) in children under the age of nine. I wrote about the 2008 recall of over the counter cold medicines on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Other products recalled include Children’s Zyrtec Sugar Free Dye Free Bubble Gum flavor and Zyrtec grape flavored syrup in several size bottles.

To find out if you have the formulation that is recalled, enter the NDC (identification) number from your bottle body=/zyrtec/pages/ndc_finder.jsp here.

Children’s Benadryl and Infants’ Benadryl drops were also recalled.

You can get a refund or coupon for future purchase by filling out the McNeil form here.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the recalled medications, including how to dispose of unused medicine and what to do if you have given these agents to your child, are also available.

The recall brings up some really important points for doctors and parents. First, any medication ingested potentially could have side effects or cause problems. So you should only take a medicine or give it to your child if you absolutely need it. That goes double for medications like antibiotics, which are often prescribed without thought to sick patients.

Second, in some cases, there are generic versions which can be used instead of the brand name Motrin (ibuprofen), Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Tylenol (acetaminophen). Other non-sedating antihistamines (except brand name Benadryl) such as loratadine can be used instead of Zyrtec (certirizine).

Last Updated May 9, 2010 by Dr. Vee

Here is the link to the Parents’ Journal Podcast of “Rear Facing Car Seats Safer until Age Two”


The Parents Journal 072909-One Hour Show

The Parent’s Journal Topics & Guests (start times in parentheses)

Fruits and Veggies for Your Little Ones – Eileen Behan (01:00)

Baby on the Move – Dr. Laura Jana (06:00)

Parent’s Notes – A Practical Parenting Tip from a Mom or Dad (24:40)

Teaching Kids to Say NO to Bully Behavior – Barbara Coloroso (29:03)

Rear-facing Car Seat Safety – Dr. Vandana Bhide (51:06)

Download Podcast

Last updated August 24, 2009 by Dr. Vee

My Interview about Rear Facing Car Seats being Safer Until Age Two

The Parents Journal

My interview on The Parents’ Journal with Bobbi Conner about “Rear-facing Car Seats being safer until Age Two” is being featured on public radio stations nationwide this week. 

Next week (one week following the Public radio broadcast) the interview will be featured on The Parents Journal Podcast, which can be accessed through The Parents Journal website, so that everyone (world-wide) can listen!

Last edited by Dr.Vee on July 27, 2009

Rear-Facing Car Seats Safer for Infants and Toddlers Until Age Two

Toddlers between One and Two Years of Age are Safer in Rear-facing Carseats
Toddlers between One and Two Years of Age are Safer in Rear-facing Car seats

Most parents know that infants should ride in a rear facing car seat until age one.  Actually, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping toddlers in car seats until age two.  Children are five times safer in a rear-facing car seat than in a forward-facing car seat until the age of two.

Previously, it was believed that when the legs of children were long enough to reach the seatback of the seat the car seat is buckled into, there was a higher risk of injuries to the legs.  Hence the previous recommendation of changing to a front-facing car seat after age one year.  Now studies confirm that fractures of the legs are rare with rear-facing seats.

In a car accident, rear-facing car seats protect the neck, head, spine and pelvis better than front-facing car seats.  Toddler’s heads are disproportionately large for their relatively weak necks, so the risk of paralysis and other serious spinal cord injury is much higher in forward-facing car seats.

Rear-facing Toddler On Board!

Rear-facing Toddler On Board!

If an infant car seat is used, the infant should be changed to a rear-facing convertible car seat when the infant’s head is within one inch of the top of the car seat and the maximum weight limit (usually between 22 and 32 pounds) has been reached.  Toddlers over the age of  12 months old and under 4 years old  should ride in a harnessed car seat, preferably one with five points.

Since car accidents are the number one cause of death in children,it is extremely important to continue to have toddlers ride in rear-facing car seats until age two.

To find a certified passenger safety technician who can help you determine if your car seat is installed properly,

go to or

or call 1-866-732-8243 or 888-327-4236.

Last updated May 9, 2009 by Dr. Vee