Halloween is one of the most exciting times of year for kids. It’s also one of the busiest times for the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center.
Registered nurse and poison center educator Joan McVoy says they got about 300 calls last Halloween regarding glow sticks. While it’s a great idea to use the bright-colored sticks to help your child stay visible in the dark, they might appear to be something tasty to kids of a certain age.
“It’s very tempting for the little ones to put it in their mouth. It’s soft plastic and they like chewing on it,” McVoy says. “What happens is, their teeth go right through the plastic and all of the sudden, the parents are freaking out because their child has a mouth full of glowing chemicals.”
She says a call to the poison control center will save you a trip to the ER. The number is 800-222-1222. McVoy says parents need to remember a few common sense and safety rules to prevent possible problems later. For starters, make sure the little goblins have full tummies before they go trick-or-treating — to serve a dual purpose.
“Go ahead and serve the kids food before you go out,” she says. “Feed them dinner before they go out so they’re not dipping into their treat bag until they get home and you get a chance to go through everything.” Parents need to look over the loot for anything questionable and be especially watchful for things like baggies of cookies or popcorn balls.
“Unless you know the families very well, I wouldn’t let the little ones eat any homemade treats from people you’re not familiar with,” McVoy says. “If the packaging looks different or looks like it’s been tampered with, go ahead and throw it away.”
The Sioux City-based hotline is open every day around the clock and the service is free.