Halloween is looming and, for most young children, it’s the only night of the year when they’re free to roam the streets, visiting strangers’ homes for tricks and treats. So, what’s a parent to do? Encouraging children to stay out of the street, wear reflective clothing, and carry a flash light on Halloween night is a good start, suggests Goddy Corpuz, MD, board-certified pediatrician at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Cedar Park.
Parents should accompany their children every step of the way while trick-or-treating, and drivers should be more cautious because of the increased number of children outside at night.
“It’s important that parents help kids find the balance between a traditional fun activity and a healthy, safe lifestyle,” says Dr. Corpuz. Some important trick-or-treating tips for kids are to stay on the sidewalk, approach only houses that are lit and avoid petting unfamiliar animals.
Tips on Making Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters
– For those who will have goblins and ghosts visiting your home, make sure your yard is clear of obstacles such as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones. Often, pets get frightened on Halloween. Adults should keep pets away from visitors to protect them from cars or from inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
– Candles also can be a hazard to children approaching your front door. Dr. Corpuz suggests using battery-powered jack o’ lantern candles instead of a real flame to reduce fire-related injuries. If you use candles, place the pumpkin away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
– Safety isn’t the only concern on Halloween. Parents should be mindful of the amount of sugar and calories kids take in during this holiday. One tactic to reduce the amount of candy kids consume is for parents to buy back the candy for money or books. After the kids enjoy some candy while trick-or-treating, parents can buy back as much as they can, offering a nickel for each piece of candy their child likes but doesn’t love, and a quarter for each piece of something they do. “This way, they could decide how much to keep,” says Dr. Corpuz. “And most likely, they would rather have the money, so they end up keeping very little candy–decreasing sugar highs and stomach aches.
Dr. Corpuz suggests being mindful of the choking hazard of candies. “We want parents to ensure that young children under 3 years old do not have access to small, hard candies or plastic toys.” Also, parents are encouraged to pass out healthy treats such as trail mix, pretzels, dried fruit, and granola bars.
“Keeping your family safe and healthy is our No. 1 priority,” said Dr. Corpuz.
*This information is intended for general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.