By Ashley Mabina, M.D.
Fall is an exciting time for most kids—the weather is changing, the leaves are turning colors, and they have an opportunity to dress up and get treats!
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you set out to enjoy Halloween this year:
• Never let your children trick or treat alone. Walk in groups. Always have a trusted adult present.
• Discard any candy that is spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious.
• Stay in well-lit areas, only visit well lit houses, and bring a flash light.
• Trick-or-treat in neighborhoods/areas that are familiar to you. Another option is to look out for events such as Harvest Festivals at local schools or churches that provide treats and games in a controlled environment.
• Pedestrian Safety:
• Walk, don’t run, use sidewalk if available. If no sidewalk, walk at the far edge of the road facing traffic.
• Look both ways before crossing the street.
• Never accept rides from strangers.
If you are planning on serving treats to children this year:
• Remove anything that can be an obstacle across lawns, steps, and porches. (Ex. garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations).
• Restrain your pets.
• Consider healthy packaged treats including: cereal bars, snack packs of dried fruits, baked pretzels, trail mix, sugar-free gum or hard candy, animal crackers
• Only serve individually wrapped items
• If you’re having a party, offer games that gives kids the opportunity to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
Additional Tips for Parents/Guardians:
Help your kids enjoy the day without over-indulging in candy:
• Give your children a good meal before trick-or-treating.
• Wait until you get home to sort through the candy.
• Attempt to ration treats for the days following Halloween.
Make sure your child’s costume is bright and reflective, and short enough to prevent tripping, getting tangled, or coming in contact with flames.
• Look for costumes with labels stating they are flame resistant
American Academy of Pediatrics Halloween Safety Tips aap.org
CDC Halloween Health and Safety Tips http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/