For many people, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety. How can you make your Halloween safer for you and your kids? Continue reading
Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night than on any other night of the year, according to experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the researchers warned that eye trauma from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes are also common Halloween injuries. How can you protect your child? Continue reading
Trying to avoid eating the entire bag of candy bars you bought for Halloween before the big night arrives? Worried that you won’t have the willpower to resist midnight raids on your child’s Halloween stash? Here are several tips on how to limit empty Halloween calories: Continue reading
Before you let your little goblins out of the home for trick-or-treating this year, make sure they’re safe and prepared. Here are some good suggestions for safe trick-or-treating and Halloween safety from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Ensure that any accessories that resemble weapons (such as plastic swords) are flexible and short.
- Make sure costumes fit properly to avoid trips and falls.
- Instruct children to follow all traffic rules and stay on the sidewalk.
- Don’t let children trick-or-treat without an adult or group of other children.
- Apply reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so drivers are able to see children. Kids also should carry a flashlight.
- Inspect children’s candy before they eat it to make sure there are no choking or tampering hazards.
- Put a limit on how much candy your child can eat.
- Make sure your child understands to enter a home only if he or she knows the owner well.
- Be sure your child wears a flame-retardant costume.
For most kids, Halloween parties and trick-or-treating can be a mixture of fun and frightening, but for children with a nut allergy, the day can actually be dangerous, warns a doctor. Here are the details from HealthDay News:
This type of allergy “can be a life-or-death situation. Just because a child only had a rash the first time exposed doesn’t mean it won’t be more serious the next time,” Dr. Sean Cahill, an associate professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a Loyola news release.
“Though having a nut allergy is serious, kids should still be able to have fun. The key is education. Make sure your child knows what he or she can eat,” Cahill added.
He offered the following suggestions for keeping children safe at Halloween parties:
- Tell the party host about your child’s allergy and provide a list of specific foods that they must avoid.
- Offer to help the hostess by wiping down all surfaces. It’s surfaces exposed to nuts, not inhaling nut particles, that cause an allergic reaction. In addition, all pans, dishes and serving utensils must be thoroughly cleaned if previously used on dishes prepared with nuts.
- Bring something to the party that you know your child will enjoy that is safe for them to eat. Check product labels when shopping. If a label says a food has been made on the same machine as products with nuts, don’t buy it. If a label says a food has been made in the same plant as products with nuts, it’s likely safe.
Cahill also offered trick-or-treat safety tips:
- If you have a younger child, take nut-free candy to neighbors before Halloween and then take your child to those houses on the big night.
- When your child returns home from trick-or-treating, immediately remove all treats with nuts or those that could cause a reaction. If in doubt, get rid of the candy.
- If you or anyone else eats a product with nuts, brush your teeth and wash your hands before hugging or kissing a child with a nut allergy.
“A peanut allergy is not limited to peanuts. Some people with a peanut allergy are allergic to numerous types of nuts and seeds, and nut allergies are often seen in kids with other food allergies, like eggs, or in kids with asthma and eczema,” Cahill added.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about food allergies here.
Chocolate Halloween candy may be a treat for children but poses a serious threat to pets, warns an expert. Here are the details from HealthDay News:
Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures and even death, said Susan Nelson, a Kansas State University veterinarian. These problems are mainly caused by a substance in chocolate called theobromine.
Different types of chocolate have varying concentrations of theobromine. Baking chocolate contains the most, semisweet and milk chocolate sport a medium amount, and white chocolate has the least, Nelson explained in a university news release.
If your pet consumes a large quantity of chocolate, you should call a veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately, Nelson said.
“Chocolate consumption is a very common problem among pets, dogs especially,” but it can also harm cats, birds, rats and ferrets, Nelson said in the news release. “It is important to recognize that individual reactions vary by pets, but it is best to assume your pet is one of the sensitive ones and not delay in seeking advice from your veterinarian. Be aware of the chocolate sources in your house, and tell any new dog owner about this potential threat to their pet.”
In order to protect pets, she suggests keeping all foods out of their reach and confining pets during family gatherings and parties so that guests don’t feed them.
It’s that time of year — when the stores are chock-full of skeletons, ghosts, zombies and other youthful disguises. How can you choose a costume that is safe for your little ones? Continue reading