Children and parents look forward to Halloween. Selecting costumes and treats are part of the preparations, but remember safety and healthy choices as part of your planning.
Despite trick-or-treating being an outdoor activity, it is not always possible to avoid a crowded sidewalk or walkway. Children should be reminded to sanitize their hands frequently during their outing, and especially before removing masks or touching their face.
As our awareness of better nutrition continues to evolve, so do our choices for treats. Inexpensive items like stickers, bubbles, crayons and playdough bring a fun twist to Halloween treats. Raisins and goldfish in factory-packaged snack bags are another option.
“Check expiration dates and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them,” said Kevin Rodriguez, MD, an emergency physician at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus and Abrazo Surprise Hospital. “Don’t let children eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies.”
Additionally, while edibles containing cannabis, commonly referred to as marijuana, have been around for years, we are now frequently finding it packaged in ways that more closely resembles a traditional candy or popular kids snack, such as gummy bears, potato chips or chocolate chip cookies.
“Although edibles that are sold at dispensaries are required to display important information regarding contents making it clear they are not meant for children, labeling laws vary from state to state,” Rodriguez said. “Labeling information you might encounter include words such as THC content, medicated, medibles, or marijuana leaves displayed on the packaging.”
“Consequently, do not allow children to snack on the go while trick-or-treating, and remind them to carefully inspect their loot with an adult at the end of their activities,” he added. “Throw out any candy or treats that are not in sealed factory packaging. Thoroughly inspect packing and labels discarding anything that is torn or looks questionable. Homemade goodies should also be tossed.”
Your child’s health isn’t limited to the goodies they’re consuming. Handing out glow sticks can help with safety and visibility along neighborhood streets. Make sure that masks fit correctly and costumes aren’t too long. Both can be a tripping hazard, particularly in the dark.
Kids with sensitive skin can break out in itchy rashes and hives from makeup. By testing makeup on a small area of your child’s skin, you can quickly determine if the makeup will be safe for your child. Cosmetic contact lenses may seem cool, but they can cause corneal abrasions, infection and even vision loss.
“Obey traffic signals and stay in crosswalks when crossing streets. Wear costumes that are flame resistant and bright colored to improve visibility in the dark. Make sure footwear is slip resistant to avoid falls,” Rodriguez said. “Use flashlights to improve visibility and remind children to keep them pointed towards the ground so as to not impede the vision of other trick-or-treaters or drivers.”
Rodriguez stressed setting ground rules: carry hand sanitizer, plan a familiar route (create a map), set a curfew, never go inside a home or car, no snacking on goodies while trick-or-treating.
Remind kids to stay in small groups, and younger children should be accompanied by an adult. Everyone should wear reflective tape on their costumes and carry flashlights so they are easily visible to drivers.
“Remind children and adults to put down the electronic devices, keep their heads up and walk, don’t run, across streets,” Rodriguez said. “Drivers need to watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs, and enter and exit driveways carefully.”
The ER at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus is located at 18701 N. 67th Avenue, Glendale. Abrazo Peoria Emergency Center is located at 26900 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway, Peoria. Abrazo Surprise Hospital ER is located at 16815 W. Bell Road, Surprise.
For more information on online ER check-ins, visit abrazohealth.com.