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Have a Spooktacular Halloween

Posted 9/8/2017 by UHBlog

Don't fear. Talk to us about how to keep Halloween both fun and healthy.

Have a Spooktacular Halloween

For kids, there’s nothing like the fun and excitement of dressing up and trick-or-treating on Halloween. But as a parent, you don’t want the holiday to turn scary for reasons that have nothing to do with ghosts or goblins.

“Children don’t necessarily have the best judgment,” says pediatrician Laurel Roach-Armao, MD, especially when their focus is on candy gathering and not moving vehicles.

That’s part of the reason why kids are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween as on other nights of the year. Additionally, each year emergency rooms are crowded with children who have suffered cuts and burns from jack-o'-lantern carvings or broken bones because they tripped over their costumes.

Dr. Roach-Armao offers these five safety tips to ensure your child has a fun – and safe – Halloween:

  1. Make sure your child’s costume fits well. Before committing to that adorable Spider-Man jumpsuit or that long, billowy princess dress, make sure your child tries it on.
    “You don’t want your child to trip over any hemlines,” Dr. Roach-Armao says. For similar reasons, it’s best to avoid high heels or any ill-fitting shoes on Halloween. And if the costume comes with a mask, make sure it doesn’t obscure your child’s vision.
  2. Light the night. “A lot of times trick-or-treating is held in the late afternoon or early evening, but if it’s held when it’s dark outside, you want to make sure kids are visible from the road,” Dr. Roach-Armao says.
    To increase visibility, she recommends carrying a flashlight or a glow stick, and sticking pieces of reflective tape on your child’s costume or candy bag.
  3. Practice safe carving tips. Save your kitchen knife for the steak dinner. Pumpkin carving tools are much safer options for carving pumpkins, Dr. Roach-Armao says. They’re not as sharp as knives, and they're easier to control. To avoid the dangers of a real flame, Dr. Roach-Armao recommends using either a flashlight or battery-powered candle to light up the finished jack-o'-lantern.
  4. Inspect all candy. “Look for any tears or abnormalities in a package and immediately throw out anything that’s been unwrapped,” she says.
    Don’t let your kids eat anything before it’s been checked. If your child has allergies, you need to be particularly vigilant.
    “In general, those big bags of chocolate Halloween candy are not very safe for anyone with a peanut allergy,” Dr. Roach-Armao says.
    Instead, look for houses with teal pumpkin decals. Those families have pledged to offer nonfood options, like stickers and crayons, at their homes.
  5. Don’t overdo it. Halloween shouldn’t be treated as a five-day-long festivity.
    “Try to limit the celebrations to a school party and a neighborhood trick-or-treating,” Dr. Roach-Armao says. And instead of gorging on – or throwing out – all the leftover candy, Dr. Roach-Armao suggests donating it to local firefighters, police or senior centers or to troops overseas.

Laurel Roach-Armao, MD, is a pediatrician at University Hospitals Medina Pediatrics. You can request an appointment with Dr. Roach-Armao or any other doctor online.

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