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Halloween health and safety tips

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2B

Sacramento County's Department of Environmental Management has released some health and safety tips for children going trick-or-treating tonight:

Tips for parents

• Give the kids a healthy snack or light meal before going out so they aren't tempted to eat their treats before you inspect them.

• Tell the children to wait until they get home so you can check the candies before they eat them.

Safety recommendations:

• Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Discard homemade goodies unless you know the person who prepared them.

• Inspect factory-wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance of discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers.

• Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

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

• Parents of children with food allergies should read food labels.

Alternative treats:

• Packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter.

• Mini boxes of raisins.

• Packages of hot chocolate mix.

• Microwaveable popcorn.

• Non-food items like stickers, book markers, coloring books and crayons.

How to keep pets safe

Halloween can be one of the scariest nights of the year for animals. Animal welfare organizations in the Sacramento area offer the following tips to keep pets safe:

• Keep pets safely inside during trick-or-treating hours. Frequently opened doors provide the perfect opportunity for escape.

• Keep dogs away from chocolate treats, which can be toxic to them. Shield animals from burning jack-o'-lanterns and decorations that could cause choking if chewed.

• Never bring dogs along for trick-or-treating. The commotion and costumes could frighten them and cause them to bolt or bite.

• Make sure pets are wearing their tags and collars just in case they break free.

• Save the costumes for humans. Dressing up pets can cause them undue stress by restricting their movements, breathing and hearing.

- Bee staff

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