When most of us think about safety on Halloween, we think about opportunities to educate the children around us, but this holiday has become about teens and adults as well. It is important for all of us to stay safe on Halloween. On this week’s On Call for All Kids, Patrick Mularoni, M.D., from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, reminds parents about important safety tips.
Halloween has become a holiday for adults and children alike. The trick or treat hours become a traffic issue, and we should be extremely cautious when driving anywhere on Halloween night. This is a message to spread to any teen or young adult driver that you know. Remind them that there are going to be kids out on the roads, and they need to drive with extreme caution. Additionally, as a parent, you need to make sure that your trick or treating kids are visible. I suggest that you carry a flashlight, a glow stick or you could even put reflective tape on your child’s candy bag in an effort to make him or her easier to see by motorists.
Let’s talk candy. How much is too much?
This is one holiday where most parents let their children control their own candy intake and too much candy can cause a sore belly not because the sugar and sweets do anything bad, but because the kids just plain overeat, leading to indigestion. Whether you let your kids go to town on the candy or not, the biggest suggestion that I have is to inspect the candy before eating it. This could be difficult because kids like my 8-year-old cannot wait until they get home to eat their candy. Many kids will nibble on items along the way, but as a parent, you should encourage restraint until you can spread the candy out at home for inspection.
Kids should only eat treats that are in their original sealed packaging. Every year we hear those scary stories about candy that has been tampered with. Now this may seem like urban legend but it actually happened a few years ago to family in Florida, and they ended up in the Emergency Center for evaluation because a metal object had been placed in their child’s candy. Luckily, the child was fine, but we as parents need to use extra caution when inspecting candy.
What about the costumes?
Important points about the costumes that are chosen: In a study from Safe Kids International, 40% of parents are taking their kids trick or treating with costumes that could be dangerous to them
There are three rules that parents should follow:
- Children should not wear masks that impede their vision because this can lead to injuries. Many of these masks look great in the store, but the masks with tinted lenses can make for a very dark trick or treating.
- Costumes should fit the children and not be excessively loose, baggy or long. Long clothing can lead to children tripping.
- Don’t include a gun, spear, cane or any other potential weapon that could hurt the trick or treater or another child.
What about families who are going to be staying home to hand out candy? Any tips for them?
Staying home and passing out candy is very rewarding. If you have your porch light on, you are inviting children to come trick or treat. Do please make sure the path to your door is safe and free of hazards. Try to keep the outdoor lights on to not only let the trick or treaters know you are participating, but also so that the children can safely get to the front door.
On Call for All Kids is a weekly series featuring Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital medical experts. Visit HopkinsAllChildrens.org/Stories each Monday for the latest report.