Trick-or-Treat! Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween

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Kids and adults alike share a love for the whimsy of Halloween. The costumes, pumpkins, treats and the all-things-spooky are part of why fall is exciting! Truthfully speaking though, the same spooky festivities leave us parents with a host of measures to consider to ensure a safe, healthy Halloween. Between pedestrian road hazards and food allergies, there’s a lot to keep in mind.

Thankfully the American Academy of Pediatrics provides us practical tips to help prepare for a fun-filled night in the safest approach possible.

The following Halloween safety precautions will help ensure things don’t become truly scary for your trick-or-treaters this October 31st.

On the Road Again

 What I’m about to say is enough to make any parent’s skin crawl.

On average, twice the number of children become fatally injured by pedestrian car accidents on Halloween compared to other days.

Yikes! Needless to say, reviewing roadside pedestrian safety measures for your group of trick-or-treaters is essential.

You can start by mapping out where your goblins are going ahead of time. Look for the most well-lit, direct routes possible with the fewest number of street crossings. Teaching points for your family should include using sidewalks when available and crossing at street corners. Use crosswalks while paying attention to traffic signals. Remind them to look left, right and left again and teach them to make eye contact with drivers before an attempt to continue.

Plan to join younger children for the entirety of trick-or-treating shenanigans. If your child is mature enough to trick-or-treat with less supervision (generally considered around age 12), encourage the group to stay together in familiar areas along the planned path.

Consider providing a cell phone for parent communication and/or emergencies and review reasons to call 911. At the same time, remind your child to keep phones otherwise tucked away to help avoid unnecessary distractions.

Careful Costuming

Time to dress up. Getting into costume is a huge part of Halloween fun!

To ensure costuming stays fun, look for an outfit that is snug, comfortable (good shoes!) and not too long. This will help avoid accidental contact with a flame, entanglement, or tripping. Hats and masks should feel secure to avoid blocking vision. Take quick peek at each costume label to ensure clothing is flame resistant.

Regarding makeup, pick nontoxic products and plan to test makeup out on a little patch of your child’s skin ahead of time. This will help rule out any allergic reactions which would feel miserable on the big night.

And again, because road-side safety is so very important, add reflective stripping to costumes to improve visibility.

Home Sweet Home

Now for a few healthy Halloween tips from the home front.

Prior to Halloween festivities, plan on a nutritious meal to help diminish just how much kiddos fill up later with the unhealthy stuff. Also, consider giving out nonedible items to offset the amount of candy laying around your home. In doing so, you’ll also help provide treats for children with food allergies who often have a difficult time navigating Halloween, win-win! Leaving out a teal pumpkin will alert parents of those children that safe treats are available (learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here).

To further ensure the safety of visitors, make sure your walkways are clear of tripping hazards and tend to slippery steps. For pumpkin-lovers, use glow sticks to light up jack-o’-lanterns vs real flames.

Lastly, consider Halloween a chance to teach your child about moderation. A pre-festivity discussion reviewing overconsumption provides a worthy teaching opportunity. Worth a try, right?!

Alright, lecture over! I promise! Wishing a happy, safe, healthy Halloween to all!

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Paras is an Iranian American, born in Tehran and raised in Texas. She is now pleased to call Colorado home. She is the mother of two rambunctious boys, a wife to an equally rambunctious husband (genetics!) and a pediatrician. Paras attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and went on to complete her pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Her special interests include childhood advocacy, healthcare education, and she absolutely loves working with new parents. After having children of her own, she quickly realized that raising kiddos was not as straightforward as many pediatric medical texts or parenting books might imply! She has found it extremely fulfilling to navigate the challenging, yet rewarding world of being a working mom alongside her patients and peers. In her spare time, Paras enjoys hiking, embroidery and is an aspiring yogi on the journey to attaining and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

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