Whether it be ghosts or ghouls or princesses or unicorns, children, tweens/teens and adults are readying to take to neighborhood streets for one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. According to Derek Trapasso, MD, a Steward Health Care hospitalist, Halloween can be a busy time in the Emergency Room but, by following a few tips, trick or treating families can have a healthy and safe Halloween.
- Get Moving: Above all, trick or treating requires kids to get up, get on their feet and go. From a health perspective, those few hours can allow kids to benefit from great exercise and lots of fun. Try to monitor candy intake to prevent overindulgence and, if you have a Fitbit or similar watch, add another fun dimension by seeing how many steps you can earn during the night!
- Allergies Beware: Halloween can be a dangerous and risky time for kids with food allergies. Families should review potential allergens and risks before parties or going trick or treating. Older kids can be taught how to read food labels and kids should always be sure to have their Epi-Pen with them. Homes that display a teal-colored pumpkin (part of the Teal Pumpkin Project) will likely have allergy-free treats, but it is always best practice to review ingredients of any goodies before indulging.
- Stay in Groups: Inevitably, a night of trick or treating starts out organized and quickly devolves into chaos. For older kids, make sure they are out with a large group of friends. For younger children, keep tabs on them throughout the night. With proper supervision and a team approach, we can help our kids avoid falls, trips and other hazards in the dark.
- Stay Visible: Regardless if you are a white ghost or a dark vampire, stay visible by using glow sticks, flashlights and reflective tape if necessary. Remind children not to assume that cars can see them and to always stick to sidewalks and lighted walkways when at all possible.
- Hydrate: When you combine running with often restrictive or hot costumes, it is important to keep kids hydrated throughout the night. Throw a small water bottle in their bag and, to make more room for candy, encourage kids to drink it!
- Bugs Beware: If the EEE warnings are still in place, be sure to apply bug spray to trick or treaters.
While the excitement of Halloween is sure to encourage families to relax some rules, emphasizing health and safety can ensure that everyone has a fun evening.
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