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Poison Safety Reminders for Halloween

Kid with faceprint

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (October 24, 2023) - Halloween is just one week away! As kids head out to trick-or-treat or attend a party on Halloween, the Upstate New York Poison Center reminds you to watch out for the below potential poisonings. Don’t forget that we are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Save our number now, before you need it: 1-800-222-1222.

“Of the nearly 200 cases on Halloween night which were called into our Helpline in 2022, the majority of calls were for pain medicines and toys,” says Sarah Mahonski, MD, assistant medical director of the Upstate New York Poison Center. “Examples of hazards for children under five include glow sticks, light-up lipstick, and toys like slime. Remind kids not to bite into glow sticks or take any medication not prescribed to them.”

  1. Check the label on all Halloween makeup.
  • POISON SAFETY: Do not use old or expired makeup, especially if it is from last Halloween. Pay attention to any odors coming from the makeup.

  • RISK: Most makeup is considered non-toxic but may cause irritation or an allergic reaction to a child’s skin. Test face paint on a small portion of skin first to be sure it is safe for face use, especially for children. Always avoid the eye area.
  1. Be careful with glow sticks. 
  • POISON SAFETY: While generally non-toxic, it is best not to chew or break open a glow stick.

  • RISK: The exposed liquid may cause stinging or a burning sensation. Occasionally blisters can occur. Remember to wash out the mouth or eye with water for 15 minutes immediately after exposure. Most exposures do not result in significant injury.
  1. Pick your candy wisely. 
  • POISON SAFETY: Choose commercially packaged, unopened, and reputable-brand candies, avoid homemade treats, and always supervise young children to ensure a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

  • RISK: While the chance of finding tainted candy is slim to none, it’s better to be safe and help a child (or adult) avoid food poisoning.
  1. Make sure the batteries on any flashing jewelry are not exposed.
  • POISON SAFETY: This jewelry can contain tiny disc batteries. Make sure the battery compartment is secured shut. Use strong tape if necessary. Only buy jewelry that requires a screwdriver or tool to open the battery compartment. Don't insert or change batteries in front of children, they may see it as a toy.
  • RISK: If swallowed, call 911 and go to the emergency room immediately. Button batteries can cause significant injury when ingested.

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.