Halloween is a time for having fun and getting scared, but parties and trick-or-treating can sometimes lead to real-life frights. Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and the education coordinator for Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, says they get the most hotline calls on this holiday about glow sticks.
Noble says, “Oftentimes the kids will put them in their mouths and they’ll bite them, or in the act of popping them to get the glow stick to start glowing, sometimes it’ll pop open or leak and then when they shake it, it splashes into their eyes.”
The liquid can irritate the eyes and cause a burning sensation to the mouth if a child bites into the tube, but Noble says a “taste” amount is non-toxic. While some kids will wear masks with their costumes, others will slather on make-up, which Noble says can also lead to trouble.
“Some kids have sensitivity, almost like an allergic reaction, to some of the makeups,” Noble says. “Watch for skin irritation, rashes and itching and as soon as those kids get home, try to get the makeup washed off quickly.” Some kids may use also use a makeup substitute, like paint, shoe polish, ink or felt-tipped markers. Noble says those items may contain petroleum, solvents or dyes that can irritate the skin and be harmful if ingested. She also says to be careful with glitter, as it can hurt the eye. After the kids return home with their loot, Noble says parents need to inspect all of the treats before the kids start eating them.
“Make sure that everything is in the original packaging, nothing’s been opened,” Noble says. “If there’s any wrappers that are faded, half-off, they have holes or tears or look like they’ve been re-wrapped, throw them away.” She adds, homemade treats should be tossed out unless parents are certain about the person who gave it out.
One other tip, be wary of dry ice. While it makes a neat foggy effect, Noble says to keep small pieces of dry ice out of individual drink glasses as it can cause frostbite if it touches the skin. Other questions? Call the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.