Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Tips for Kids with Low Vision, Amblyopia, Glasses

Halloween Tips for Kids with Low Vision

Halloween is a fun time of year for children and parents alike. But, this holiday can also be very dangerous and scary for those with visual impairments. Read on to find tips for an enjoyable and safe Halloween including tips for trick or treating and costumes.

Costume Tips

When searching for a costume for your visually impaired child consider the following:

1. Avoid any costume with a mask, hat, helmet, hood or wig that blocks or limits forward or peripheral vision. Instead opt for face painting or make-up.

2. Children should wear familiar, comfortable and safe footwear in the right size.

3. Pirate costumes are popular but do not wear an eye patch over your eye (unless it is required for Lazy Eye). Wearing an eye patch occludes the vision in that eye resulting in reduced vision and poor depth perception. If your pirate must have an eye patch accessory wear it up on the forehead or draw one on with make-up

4. Children who wear prescription glasses should still wear their glasses even if the glasses don't "fit" with the costume theme. Corrected vision is more important.

5. Do not borrow someone's prescription glasses in order to complete a costume. If you must wear glasses in order to "make" the costume, use cheap frames with the lenses popped out or glasses with clear plastic lenses.

6. Do not wear sunglasses or dark glasses after daylight hours unless indoors in bright lighting.

7. Accessories like fake knives, swords, wands, canes or spears can poze a safety hazard to children's eyes.

Trick or Treating Tips

1. It is safer to attend a halloween party indoors, go to community organized events like "trunk or treats", or mall trick or treating events instead of neighborhood trick or treating.

2. Trick or treat during daylight if you must trick or treat - always with an adult and in a group if possible.

3. Bring a bright flashlight with you with fresh batteries.

4. Use reflective tape on costumes, flashing necklaces, or glow sticks (available from the dollar store) so that your child is visible to motorists.

5. As a parent, familiarize yourself with a "safe" trick or treating route in your neighborhood comprised only of houses you know. Walk the route ahead of time so that you are aware of any bumpy walkways, stairways, steps or hazards that may be difficult for your child to navigate. If possible, practice the route ahead of time with your child.

6. Be mindful that your child who may have low vision could be hyper-sensitive to scary decorations, eery music, smoke machines, and even jack-o-lanterns. Keep young children in a stroller, wagon, or hold them by the hand when walking up to the door. I was surprised to find that my daughter was so fearful of a neighbor's front porch decorated like a haunted house when she had gone past and up to the house many times previously. Skip these scary homes or visit them first before it gets dark. Since you are presumably only visiting homes that you know, you could call them ahead of time to turn on extra lighting or turn off the smoke machine when you are approaching.

7. Consider staying home with your low vision child and having them help hand out candy. Keep in mind that your child could be afraid of many of the larger children in scary costumes.

Happy Halloween!

this article was originally published by me at Bella Online Vision Issues site

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