Hidden Halloween poison risks and how to avoid them
October 11, 2022
Siblings in Halloween costumes looking at candy after trick-or-treating

    When to call the fast, free Virginia Poison Center – 1-800-222-1222

    Halloween is full of frightening fun and tasty treats—but sometimes kids end up ingesting more than the good stuff.

    “Every year we get calls from parents whose Halloween festivities didn’t go as planned and they need guidance on what to do next,” said Shelly Clary, Virginia Poison Center education specialist. “We’re always here as a resource when the unexpected happens, but we also want to help families avoid poisonings altogether.”

    Halloween poison prevention tidbits from Virginia Poison Center

    • Non-toxic face paint or makeup is a safe alternative to masks, which can make it hard to see. Products not marked as non-toxic may contain dangerous emollient laxatives, talc or hydrocarbons.
    • Glow sticks and necklaces are popular on Halloween and can help with visibility. Sometimes, though, they break or kids chew them open. The liquid inside is considered non-toxic in small amounts, but it can cause irritation and rash if it gets on the skin. Severe irritation can occur if it gets in the eyes. Wash the skin or flush the eyes with cold water. Oral ingestion can cause nausea and burning. Call the Poison Center if this occurs.
    • Dry ice can be used in punch bowls for a spooky, smoky effect but it shouldn’t be put in individual glasses. Swallowing dry ice can result in oral burns and direct contact with the skin can cause a frostbite type injury. Wash the skin immediately with water.
    • Candy and treats should be carefully inspected before eaten.
      • Only allow your child to eat treats that are still in their original, unopened wrappers.
      • Throw away all unwrapped candy and candy with wrappers that are faded or torn.
      • Check fruit and homemade treats for punctures or foreign items that may have been placed in them, like pins, needles or razor blades. Even if they look okay, it’s best that kids only eat these items from people you know and trust. Most treat makers have good intentions, but it’s not worth the risk.

    What to know if you need to call the Poison Center

    If your child does ingest something they shouldn’t, call the Virginia Poison Center right away. Specially trained registered nurses are available to offer free, confidential guidance 24 hours a day.

    When you call the Poison Center, they’ll ask for the following information:

    • Your name and phone number
    • The age and weight of the child
    • What was ingested (it’s helpful to have the bottle or container handy)
    • How much was involved
    • How the child is feeling or acting

    The nurse may provide first aid instructions over the phone or recommend going to the emergency room.

    Read more about Halloween safety—from pedestrian practices to ensuring visibility and more—from Safe Kids Virginia.

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