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Candy tampering isn’t a big concern

Published: Tue, October 19, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.


Avoid dark costumes that can’t be seen easily at night.

Pick costumes that fit properly to avoid trips and falls.

Limit children to areas they know.

Toss candy that has been opened.

Carry a flashlight and extra batteries.

Avoid poorly lit areas.

Source: Ohio Academy of Family Physicians

Staff report

As Halloween approaches, parents terrified of strangers’ putting razor blades in their children’s candy may want to focus on more down-to-earth safety concerns.

Dr. John Vaughn, a member of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, said he wouldn’t consider candy tampering the biggest threat on a trick-or-treat night.

“There have been no cases of tainted candy or razor blades in candy in Ohio that I know of,” Vaughn said. “Hospitals will sometimes X-ray the candy for public safety and public-relations purposes. We live in a world where you never can be too careful, though.”

Though dismissing that urban legend, he said parents should still check their kids’ bags for anything suspicious or potentially dangerous.

Some ingredients, such as peanuts, could be just as harmful to a child with allergies than anything hidden in the candy by a stranger. Vaughn said parents of children with food allergies should scrutinize labels after returning home.

“A lot of candy bars have peanuts in them even if they don’t look like they do,” Vaughn said.

Lt. Mike Fonda of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department said he has not noticed an increase in crimes against juveniles during Hallo-ween celebrations.

“Years ago, we used to hear horror stories like razor blades in candy,” Fonda said. “Fortunately, over the years, I have not heard a whole lot. People are very careful where their kids are concerned.”

Researchers also have found Halloween may not be as dangerous as holidays that may seem less threatening.

According to an April study by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, children were more likely to be injured on Labor Day, Memorial Day and July 4 than Halloween. They also found most of the injuries on each day were sport- and home- related, and not related to a holiday-specific activity.

Fonda said he is not aware of increased injuries during Halloween, but he has noticed drunken-driving arrests typically increase on Hallo-ween night.

“Halloween more so than any other night of the year is a big DUI night,” he said “With respect to traffic, there’s also definitely a spike.”

With more drivers on the road, sober and otherwise, Vaughn said it is important for kids and costumed adults to both see and be seen. He suggests kids and adults wear reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape and avoid eye-patches, hats and masks.

Vaughn said the most important thing parents can do to make sure their children have a safe night is to supervise them closely as they go door to door.

Fonda said a little common sense and preparation go a long way toward a safe holiday.

“Older children should always take friends with them, and younger kids should be with a trusted adult,” he said. They should never enter a stranger’s home or vehicle under any circumstances.”

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