Tips for a Safe (and Fun!) Halloween

Halloween_SafetyHalloween is just a couple days away and your kids are probably still trying to assemble their costumes and follow the latest trends.

One of those with potentially scary consequences is the use of non-prescriptive colored contact lenses.  It may seem like a lot of fun to turn your trick-or-treater from an ordinary ghost or goblin into a vampire, a princess with pink eyes, or even a quarterback featuring his favorite team logo on his lenses, but it is actually a very dangerous idea.

Contact lenses are medical devices. They are not meant to be a cosmetic feature and it is actually against the law to sell them without a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration has a campaign cautioning consumers against the use of decorative lenses warning that, “a poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision and blindness.”

You can add a lot of great embellishments to your child’s costume without adding risk, but be sure to also follow some basic tips:

  • Make your child visible by choosing light colored costumes.
  • Take the extra step of attaching reflective tape and giving him or her a flashlight.  Even if they are staying on the sidewalk, many homes turn the lights down to emphasize their Halloween spirit for the night.
  • Check the fit of your child’s costume.  If your child is wearing a mask, be sure it doesn’t block his or her vision.
  • Be sure your child’s costume doesn’t drag on the ground and your child can walk freely up and down steps without tripping.
  • Additionally, give your child a treat he or she can enjoy while trick-or-treating and instruct them not to open any treats until you are able to examine them.
  • Be sure your child is trick-or-treating in a group. Instruct them to stay together and not to enter any home.
  • Keep in touch with your child and give him or her a cell phone.  Program it with your phone number so he or she can reach you easily and quickly.

Don’t forget to have fun!  For more information on keeping your child safe visit

Jamie is currently the Executive Director of The Safety Institute  The Safety Institute examines areas of injury prevention and product safety across a broad spectrum.  The Institute bases its plans and priorities on issues that require greater study and emphasis, as well as those which may be underserved by other organizations and advocates.  Jamie authored two parenting and safety books, The Baby Rules: The Insiders Guide to Raising Your Parents and The Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing and Safety and successfully fought for safety legislation on Capitol Hill.

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