Halloween: 5 tips to keep kids safe and healthy

Sanford Health pediatrician's top advice: Watch out for cars

children in halloween costumes

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s not too late to take measures to keep your child safe and healthy during the evening’s festivities.

Laura Whittington, D.O., a pediatrician at Sanford Health, shares some of her advice for parents of young children trick-or-treating this year.

Related: Find a pediatrician at Sanford Health

1. Walk this way

The most important way for kids to stay safe at Halloween is to be aware of car traffic — being street smart.

There are usually a lot of cars on the road on Halloween, especially with parents driving alongside their kids trick-or-treating, so those types of injuries do tend to happen.

  • Make sure your kids always look both ways before crossing a street and know when it’s safe to cross.
  • Carry a glow stick or flashlight.
  • Add reflective tape to their costumes to make them more visible.
  • Make sure the costume is a brighter color, and avoid black.

2. Avoid the Halloween mask

Costumes can often cause a risk of injury, especially if kids go out after dark.

  • Make sure the costume fits well, is not too long and your kids aren’t tripping over it.
  • Avoid masks with costumes because they can obscure the child’s vision and they won’t be able to see as well.
  • Also make sure that any accessories to the costume, such as swords, are safe.

3. Be food safe

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to food safety at Halloween.

  • For young trick-or-treaters, parents should go through the candy that was collected and remove any of the harder, smaller candies that could present a choking hazard.
  • If younger children do receive smaller or hard candy, have them exchange it with older siblings or friends, so everyone gets something they enjoy and can eat.
  • Parents should also be looking to see if anything is opened, spoiled or homemade and throw it out. Make sure everything is pre-packaged.

4. Stay allergy safe

For kids with allergies to eggs, milk and peanuts — some of the most common, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) — there are some things parents can do.

  • Parents should thoroughly examine their children’s candy and remove any that may contain traces of allergens.
  • People who hand out treats may consider taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Instead of passing out candy, they pass out non-food Halloween treats and mark their home as allergy-friendly with a teal pumpkin in front.

5. Review stranger danger

Finally — and obviously — it’s important for children to stay in areas that are safe.

  • If possible, stick to neighborhoods you know.
  • Only go to homes with the lights on.
  • Never go inside someone’s house. Just politely decline if someone asks.
  • As a Halloween safety rule of thumb, kids under the age of 12 should always have a parent with them. If they’re over 12, make sure they have a form of communication with them.

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Posted In Children's, Family Medicine, Parenting

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