With Halloween quickly approaching and children across the Southland preparing for a night out filled with costumes, candy, tricks, and treats, Advocate South Suburban Hospital's emergency medical specialist Dr. Ronald Lawton shared some safety and health tips that parents should keep in mind.
Ensuring a child's safety on Halloween can start as early as choosing a costume. He suggested that parents make sure all parts of the costume—especially shoes and masks—fit properly.
“The child’s vision should not be obstructed by the costume,” Lawton said. He suggested that hypoallergenic makeup could be a good alternative to a mask without obstructing vision or endangering the child, so long as parents remember to wash all the makeup off at the end of the night to avoid irritating the skin.
However, once trick-or-treaters are out and about, they and their parents aren't the only ones who can look out for their safety. Lawton says residents can go out of their way to help.
- Keep sidewalks clear of decorations, wet leaves, or any other obstructions that could cause a fall or an accident.
- Drivers should be more mindful of the increased pedestrian activity and keep their eyes open for trick-or-treaters crossing the street.
Parents and trick-or-treaters should also take basic precautions when it comes to walking in the dark to make sure they remain visible, such as using flashlights or attaching reflective tape to costumes and treat bags.
And speaking of treats, parents should take steps to make sure none of the treats their kids bring home can hurt them.
“Parents should not only check treats for signs of tampering, but also be cautious and remove anything the child may be allergic to,” Lawton said.
- Encourage kids to wait until they get home to eat candy, so parents can take a look.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats, and avoid anything homemade unless they know the cook.
And if parents are worried that all those sugary treats are going to hurt their kids' health in the long run, Lawton has a solution for that, too:
“Give children an early meal before going out to prevent them from wanting to fill up on treats," he said. "Put candy away and control when the child eats it."
He also suggested that people giving out treats consider healthier options such as individual packs of trail mix, pretzels, or raisins.