FDA guidelines for a safe and happy Halloween

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The FDA has provided guidelines for a safe Halloween that include injury prevention from costumes and contact lenses and illness from sweet treats.
The FDA has provided guidelines for a safe Halloween that include injury prevention from costumes and contact lenses and illness from sweet treats.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided guidelines for a safe and enjoyable Halloween. These include recommendations that prevent various illnesses from candy and injuries from costumes and contact lenses.

Halloween's main event is a night of trick-or-treating. Remember these tips before digging into the candy bag:

  • Avoid uninspected candy.
  • Eat a snack before heading out to trick-or-treat, and avoid nibbling on an uninspected piece of candy.
  • Check candy labels for potential food allergies.
  • For parents, check for potential choking hazards (gum, peanuts, and hard candies) before giving candy to a child.
  • Inspect commercially prepared packaging for tears or other signs of tampering.
  • Identify the warning label on various juices to ensure that it has been pasteurized and has not been further processed.
  • Thoroughly wash apples before using them for games such as bobbing for apples.

Flammable costumes and face-paint can cause injuries that last long after Halloween is over. The FDA's recommendations include:

  • Purchasing costumes that clearly state “flame-resistant” on the packaging.
  • Wearing bright, reflective costumes or adding reflective strips of tape for nighttime visibility
  • Wearing makeup and hats rather than masks.
  • Testing makeup before application to check for possible allergies, including a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation.
  • Checking for FDA approval on vibrantly colored makeup.
  • Avoiding decorative or colored contact lenses unless properly fitted by an eye care professional.

The FDA joins the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, and the American Optometric Association in discouraging consumers from using illegal decorative contact lenses. The lenses have not been approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Despite the fact that it is illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops—particularly around Halloween. Using the lenses without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care, can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness.

Reference

Halloween safety: Costumes, candy, and colored contact lenses [press release]. US Food & Drug Administration. October 20, 2017. Accessible at: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm230283.htm 

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