Fall is upon us and that means Halloween is right around the corner. Kids look forward to the day when they can dress up as their favorite character and go around the neighborhood collecting candy. While this can be a very fun time of year, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions to keep kids from getting hurt. As a pediatrician, it is important to guide the parents and children you work with in how to create a happy and healthy Halloween experience. So, what are the major concerns around safety for Halloween? They fall into three categories.
Costumes are probably the most important part of Halloween. Kids of all ages as well as adults dress up as their favorite character or monster, and go trick or treating or to parties. Costumes can mean safety hazards. A few things to talk to parents about are:
- Consider making the costume bright and reflective. Drivers should easily be able to see kids in their headlights.
- Make sure eyes and mouth are not covered. The senses should not be prevented from doing their job.
- Check that all accessories and props are not too sharp. Kids run, and it can be easy in the dark to trip and fall.
- Be careful using any decorative contact lenses, as they can have disastrous consequences. Make sure to consult a doctor before putting anything in your eyes.
Trick or Treating
Trick or treating is the reason a lot of kids love Halloween so much. They go around to each house in their area and get free candy. What could be better as a kid? It can be so much fun, as long as it is safe. Parents should take certain preparations for trick or treating.
- If a child is young, they should always be accompanied by an adult.
- For older kids, review the route they will be taking and agree on a specific time for them to return home.
- Reflective elements on costumes are a good idea.
- Avoid dark alleys and crossing yards.
- Stay in a group at all times; going alone can be dangerous.
- Do not assume the right of way as a pedestrian (the most pedestrian injuries of the year occur on Halloween).
- Carry a cell phone for quick communication (both to contact parents and to report any suspicious behavior).
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of Halloween is eating the candy. All night, kids watch their bags fill up with candy and they look forward to the time that they can finally dig into their stash. There are a few things parents can do to make sure Halloween stays happy and healthy for their kids:
- Before trick or treating it is a good idea for kids to eat a healthy dinner so they do not have too much candy after.
- When kids come home, take a look through their candy and make sure nothing is spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious looking.
- After Halloween night, ration the rest of the candy over the next days and weeks.
Each of these categories is important to keep an eye on during Halloween. The holiday season is a time full of joy and happiness, and that starts with being safe on Halloween.