Halloween is almost here! Are you ready for some trick-or-treating action with your little ghouls and goblins? Collecting candy, dressing up, and looking at all the decorated houses is super fun. But, it’s also important for parents to keep safety in mind, especially if they have children with food allergies or toddlers and young kids new to the trick-or-treating scene. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you and your kids enjoy fun and safe trick-or-treating this year!
Tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating
Spooky season is an exciting time for little ones. But it’s also a time when kids can be at risk for injuries.
Ian Wittman, M.D., chief of service for the Emergency Department at NYU Langone Hospital, Brooklyn, encourages parents and caregivers to be prepared with simple safety tips this Halloween season.
“With this exciting time of year coming up, there may be some safety risks that we may not always think about,” said Wittman. “By keeping a few small safety tips top of mind, Halloween can be safe and fun for everyone.”
To start, make sure your child’s costume is in light colors and reflective. Remind kids to cross the street at corners or crosswalks.
A 2019 study from JAMA Pediatrics says 4- to 8-year-old children experienced a 10-fold increase in pedestrian fatality risk on Halloween. The highest risks are around 6pm when it is getting darker.
“There is a significant uptick in children being injured by cars, and in NYC by scooters and bicycles, on Halloween because kids are out at night—and lots of them.
To help keep kids safe at night, one of the best things parents can do is to focus on traffic safety. Just because it’s Halloween, it doesn’t mean everyone will be mindful on the road
“If you have a costume that’s reflective, great. If you don’t, and you’ll be out with your kids after dark, having a reflector on the costume is ideal,” Wittman said. “But make sure your kids do the same thing that hopefully they do all day every day. This means respecting the road, looking both ways before crossing, crossing at crosswalks instead in the center of the street.”
It’s also important to make sure costumes fit your child. If they’re wearing a mask, make sure they can see out of it. This will prevent falls that can lead to an ER visit, Wittman explained.
Most parents of children with food allergies make their kids aware that unknown candy could be a potential risk. But, as extra precaution, it doesn’t hurt to remind them to bring all candy home first before unwrapping and eating it.
This year, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) partnered with CVS Pharmacy for its famous Teal Pumpkin Project.
As part of the partnership, CVS is communicating Teal Pumpkin offerings with customers through in-store signage to help shoppers identify food-allergy friendly items. These include small small treats, and fun toys such teal pumpkin buckets, craft kits, spooky spiders and critters, and more.
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Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project
Anyone can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project by placing a teal-colored pumpkin on their doorstep to signal that, in addition to candy, non-food goodies and food allergy safe treats are available for trick or treaters.
“Many typical Halloween sweets aren’t safe for children with food allergies and contain top food allergens such as nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, and sesame,” said Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., and CEO of FARE. “The number of children with food allergies has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, and our Teal Pumpkin Project will be amplified this year through CVS’ ability to help parents and caregivers identify safe treats and reach even more children by making it easier to find these options at select store locations.”
The classic tips still apply when it comes to safe trick-or-treating. It’s important to always check your child’s candy before they eat it. Tell your kids not to eat any candy until they get home, said Gerard Lennon, crime prevention officer at Adelphi University and retired NYPD lieutenant. You don’t want them eating candy in wrappers that have been tampered with.
“Check all candy for open wrappers. If they’re open—even just slightly—toss them in the trash,” Lennon said.
Also, throw away any loose candy. All candy should be completely wrapped.
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