12 Tips For a Fun Safe and Somewhat Healthy Halloween

Halloween is definitely a favorite holiday for kids. Children love getting dressed up in costumes, socializing with friends, trick or treating and yes, some candy too. As a pediatrician, I have seen my fair share of stomachaches, injuries and avoidable injuries. Here are some of my  top safety tips as well as some healthy  tips that I promise won’t put a damper on the festivities.

halloween tips.JPG

 

1.     Make sure costumes fit properly. When sleeves are loose and flowing or pants drag on the floor, they are more like to get snagged or caught on objects leading to falls, scraped knees and even broken bones. Other items like long untied belts or high heeled shoes can be hazardous too. Be sure face masks fit properly, especially the eye and nose openings so as not to obscure vision or breathing.

2        Keep costumes brightly colored or use reflective tape.  Bold color or placing reflective tape on your child clothing or even trick or treat bag is important especially if outside in areas that are not well lit. This will make it easier for them to be seen particularly by drivers in cars.

3        Patch test all makeup before using. Kids love face painting, but many of the makeup kits for Halloween don’t use high quality ingredients and may have chemicals that react on skin causing rashes like hives, bumps, redness and itching. Be sure to test on a small area of arm before applying to face.

4        Avoid imported inexpensive costume jewelry for young children. Please be wary and if purchasing please supervise if your young child is wearing accessories that have small parts that can potentially break off causing choking ,be put up their nose or in their ears. In addition young children may put these accessories in their mouth to chew on, causing the paint to come off and be swallowed.  Imported painted costume jewelry items have been known to contain metals like lead and cadmium which are toxic if ingested so if you have a little teether avoid altogether.

5        Do not buy decorative contact lenses. Non prescription contacts can give you the appearance of bright colored eyes( magenta , neon green or Dracula eyes) however because they are not fitted properly, there is potential for severe damage to eyes such as corneal scratches, infections and in some cases even visual loss. It is not worth the risks.

6        Darkness can mean more dangers outside. Supervision is needed by adults or even responsible teenagers while out and about going house to house. It’s a great idea to have a designated route ahead of time. In addition carry flashlights as many neighborhoods may not have sidewalks or even street lamps.  I encourage all homeowners on Halloween to keep their outdoor house lights on as well as to make sure walkways are clear of wet slippery leaves to make the whole neighborhood brighter and safer.

7        Avoid candles in Jack-O -Lanterns.  Kids move fast and not always paying attention to their surroundings. Candles can cause burns and unexpected fires, so instead use a battery operated flameless light or even a flashlight to illuminate your pumpkins.

8        Restrain pets or keep in another room when trick or treaters come to the door. Even the most docile and friendly dogs can get over excited by all the kids and crowds. Children who fear animals may cry or be frightened, others may try petting the tail or animals face causing an unexpected reaction or even get bitten. To avoid any problems keep your pets away from the front door.

9        Eat a good meal before going out trick or treating. Starting out on a full stomach can help discourage kids from wanting to eat the candy and goodies throughout the night and it will help to cut down on binge/ overeating. Yes Halloween stomachaches are a real thing.

10   Walk to the farthest point you are traveling and then trick or treat on the way back home. By doing this, you and your kids are getting a bit more exercise and physical activity, because eventually you have to walk all the way back home.

11   Sort and inspect candy before eating. Even though it is rare for tampering of candy on Halloween, especially if you stick to neigbors that you know, its important to check the candy and home baked goodies, as well as remove any items that may be potential allergens to your child.

12   Share Share Share. Most kids have so much fun on Halloween, but it’s a great time to remind them that not all children may be able to participate in the holiday events. Let your child pick out their favorite items and then have them share and give away the rest to the local hospital, child care centers or even a favorite charity.

 

Remember, Halloween comes but once a year, besides the trick or treating, there are other fun activities to participate in such as drawing on pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds and drawing Halloween cards and posters. I wish and your child a spooktacular and safe holiday. – Dr. Jen

College Survival Care Package- A Doctor/Moms Perspective on Essential Items

Has your child settled into their new school, dorm life with a roommate, and eating cafeteria food 24/7?   It’s definitely a big transition for both parent and teenager. You may have initially spent hours decorating and assembling their room to provide comfort in their new surroundings, but what might have been overlooked is the fact that being in this new environment is akin to starting kindergarten when it comes to germs, illnesses and infections. I remember my son could not believe after seeming so healthy, how many coughs, sore throats, stomach bugs, and pains resurfaced when living in such close quarters with other teens that also weren’t always up to par with their hygiene? (right, how often is your child really washing hands, doing weekly laundry, getting enough sleep…)  So as a mom and a pediatrician, here are some college survival items that your freshman, just may appreciate receiving from you in the mail.

College Survival Care Package – Checklist of What to Send

Hydration- Drinking lots of water is a must, so sending a reusable water bottle that they can fill and carry throughout the day is a must

Sore Throats –  lollipops, sucking candies, lozenges  (to help soothe scratchy throats)  tea bags and a microwaveable mug

 Fever/ Pain -  Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen,  as the nearest pharmacy may be miles away, and often they just don’t want to get out of bed to head to the store

Hives/ Allergic skin reactions- antihistamine like Benedryl/Zyrtec/ Claritin/ Allegra

Skin Rashes- Cortisone cream, antibacterial ointment, and a good hydrating moisturizer to keep skin intact

Athletes Foot/ Fungal Infection  - antifungal creams, shower shoes, clean socks and extra towels (in case they aren’t doing their laundry often enough)

Stomach Upset- antacids, ginger and chamomile

Coughs- a jar of honey, extra pillow to prop up head at night

Nail Care- keeping nails short and clean decrease spread infection- nail clipper/nail file

Disinfectant – Air fresheners/ Lysol cleaner, Laundry detergent pods, hand sanitizer

Healthy Snacks  - nuts ,dried fruit, popcorn- for on the go or late night

Sleep/ Rest - ear buds to listen to music to help fall asleep, eye mask, lavender oil, magazines

Probiotic- boosting immune support and balancing digestive tract daily 

First Aid supply- ace bandage, bandaids, cold pack/ice pack, thermometer,

 These essential items will surely  be appreciated by any child  away on their own, especially for the first time.  What else do you think would be helpful?  Let me know in the comments.