Police Chief offers Halloween safety tips

Halloween is fun, but it should also be safe. Here are some tips on everything from eyewear to costumes to consuming candy from Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande and the FDA:

Halloween safety tips

Whether you’re goblin or ghoul, vampire or witch, poor costume choices — including decorative contact lenses and flammable costumes — can haunt you long after Halloween.

With Halloween approaching, the Food and Drug Administration joins eye care professionals — including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the American Optometric Association — in discouraging consumers from using decorative contact lenses.

These experts warn that buying any kind of contact lenses without an examination and a prescription from an eye-care professional can cause serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.

Despite the fact that it’s illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons — particularly around Halloween.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following the “lucky 13” guidelines from FDA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

For safe costumes:

Wear costumes made of fire-retardant materials; look for “flame resistant” on the label. If you make your costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.

Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so you’ll be more visible; make sure the costumes aren’t so long that you’re in danger of tripping.

Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure your vision.

Test the makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on your arm a couple of days in advance. If you get a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation where you applied it, that’s a sign you may be allergic.

Check the FDA’s list of color additives to see if additives in your makeup are FDA approved. If they aren’t approved for their intended use, don’t use it.

Don’t wear decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses.

For safe treats:

Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.

Trick-or-treaters should eat a snack before heading out, so they won’t be tempted to nibble on treats that haven’t been inspected.

Tell children not to accept, or eat, anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.

Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

For partygoers and party throwers, the FDA recommends the following tips for two seasonal favorites:

Look for the warning label to avoid juice that hasn’t been pasteurized or otherwise processed, especially packaged juice products that may have been made on site. When in doubt, ask! Always ask it you are unsure if a juice product is pasteurized or not. Normally, the juice found in your grocer’s frozen food case, refrigerated section, or on the shelf in boxes, bottles, or cans is pasteurized.

Before bobbing for apples — a favorite Halloween game — reduce the amount of bacteria that might be on apples by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.

P.S. from Jana: A dentist once advised me to let my kids enjoy their candy for a day or two (as long as they brushed their teeth after eating) and then offer them $5 for the rest of it, which strong-willed parent throw in garbage and folks like me take to work. Isn’t it worth $5 to avoid a cavity from your child slowly parsing out his or her candy over the next month? I think so.

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