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Celebrate Halloween Safely This Year With Tips From the California Poison Control System
Date:10/23/2008

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Halloween can be filled with tricks and treats but it can also have potential hazards for children. The California Poison Control System (CPCS) urges parents to take safety precautions to assure that children enjoy holiday fun while decreasing risk.

If parents have questions, the CPCS is available at 1-800-222-1222, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate expert help and information in case of poison exposure.

"Parents can reduce some of the fear of poisonous exposures from Trick-or-Treating by following a few simple guidelines," said Dr. Cyrus Rangan of the CPCS. "But if there is any doubt, parents can always give us a call, and we can provide fast answers to any question, and it is always free of charge."

Before Your Children Go Out to Collect Treats

-- Many parents purchase glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks to keep their children visible while trick-or-treating in the dark. Children may break open these glow sticks and get the liquid on their hands and in their mouths. The liquid can be mildly irritating to the skin or eyes but is not likely to cause harm if a small amount is ingested.

-- Tell children not to eat treats until they return home and all items have been inspected by an adult.

-- Limit the amount of candy ingested at one time. Too much candy can cause stomach discomfort, and sugars and other sweeteners can act as laxatives when consumed in large amounts.

When Your Children Come Home

-- If your child brings home a brand of candy that you are unfamiliar with, throw it away. Some imported candies have high levels of lead that can be harmful.

-- Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded immediately.

-- Fruit treats should be washed and cut open before being eaten.

-- Homemade treats should be discarded unless you know and trust the individuals that prepared them.

-- Small pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.

Inspecting Commercially Wrapped Candies for Signs of Tampering

-- Torn, loose, or punctured wrapping may be a sign of tampering. If you suspect tampering, this should be reported to local police.

-- Commercially produced candy may sometimes have color variation, lumps, or powdered sugar residue -- all normal effects of the manufacturing and shipping process. To see photos of candy with these normal effects, go to http://www.candyusa.org/Media/General/Security/candyguide.asp. This candy is generally safe to eat as long as the packaging does not show signs of tampering.

The California Poison Control System is a statewide network of trained experts providing immediate free treatment advice and assistance over the telephone in case of exposure to poisonous or hazardous substances. The CPCS is California's leading source of poison help and information to both the public and health professionals and is accessible, toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The CPCS website is http://www.calpoison.org

The CPCS has four divisions located at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco, Children's Hospital Central California in Fresno/Madera and the UC San Diego Medical Center in San Diego. The CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.


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SOURCE California Poison Control System
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