Halloween is an exciting night for children as little super heroes, princesses and ghosts race to fill buckets of candy in neighborhoods across the United States. Pediatricians from Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital want to help your children stay safe, and have offered several tips to keep the holiday full of treats — and no tricks — this year.
“Halloween can be a night filled with fun, especially if you plan ahead and keep safety in mind,” said Dr. Ryan Davies, a pediatrician at Atrium Health Navicent. “Choose costumes that are visible at night and fit appropriately to prevent trips and falls. Be sure to obey traffic signals, be on the lookout for cars, and keep your children in sight and close. Parents should take care to review treats and remove choking hazards. If your child has specific food allergies, look for allergen-free treats that your child can choose. It is also a good idea to go through their candy and ensure that these items do not contain what your child is allergic to. Now may also be a good time to discuss your child’s food allergies with your pediatrician and make sure that your child’s medications (such as an EpiPen) are up-to-date and available.”
Pediatricians offer common-sense advice for Halloween:
Supervise young children for trick-or-treating.
Never enter a home or car to get a treat.
If teens plan to go out on their own, review their route in advance and agree on a specific time to return home.
Cross streets at the corners, looking both ways before crossing.
Obey traffic signals and remain within crosswalks.
Decorate costumes and treat bags with reflective stickers, lights or glow sticks. Have children carry flashlights.
Make sure costumes fit appropriately to avoid trips and falls. Look for “flame-resistant” on labels for costumes, wigs and accessories.
Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of your child's skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises or allergic reactions on the big day.
Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional.
Inspect all treats before consuming them to ensure wrappers are sealed and have not been tampered with. Do not accept homemade treats.
Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys from Halloween bags.
To have the best experience, very young children should stick to their bedtime routine as much as possible, even if that means trick-or-treating earlier and ending earlier. Also, be prepared to shift to an alternate plan if your child loses interest. They might enjoy handing out candy to big kids from home just as much or more!
If a young child is still wearing diapers or is potty training, it’s a good idea to choose an easy-off costume and pack a back-up costume.
Make sure any seasonal movies or games are age-appropriate to avoid unnecessary nightmares and anxiety in younger children.
Teens and tweens may experience peer pressure to play pranks or misbehave during Halloween. Consider reviewing your expectations of behavior — and any consequences for breaking rules — prior to the holiday.
Those handing out treats can also consider giving out non-edible items, which are especially handy for children with food allergies. Suggestions include glow sticks, spider rings, pencils, bubbles, bookmarks, stickers and other small seasonal items.
For information about children’s services, visit childrenshospitalnh.org.