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Trick-or-treating children

Safe Practices for a Healthy Halloween

While candy, costumes and fun with friends are the top priorities for most children and teens during Halloween, parents are more concerned with safety and health. It’s every parent’s nightmare for this night of pretend spookiness to turn into real terror. As a parent, what can you do to keep your child safe during this night of frantic activities?

The physicians at Advance ER propose the following tips to make Halloween a howling fun success for the kids:

  • Front-load for Success

Before your child even goes out the door, sit down and review these common safety rules:

  • crossing the street
  • looking for traffic
  • being seen by drivers
  • walking instead of running
  • using crosswalks or corners properly
  • waiting in line
  • avoiding lighted pumpkins
  • walking on sidewalks instead of lawns
  • what to do if invited inside a house
  • how to talk to strangers
  • leave any situation that feels wrong
  • don’t text or talk on the phone while walking and don’t wear earphones
  • only go to houses with outside lights on
  • don’t pet a strange dog
  • plan your route and stick to it
  1. Direct Supervision

It’s a distant memory from our childhoods of being able to run wild through the neighborhood and eat everything handed to us. Parents today have to know where their children are and who gave them what treat. Just making sure they are safely crossing the road is enough reason to go with your child for Trick-or-Treating.

“Every year we see a heart-wrenching case of a child who was struck by a car or was somehow knocked down and trampled on Halloween,” said Advance ER physician, Dr. Joseph Meier. “Concussions, fractures, contusions…these are the happy endings to such encounters. Not all of them have happy endings.”

  1. Candy Cop

Prepare your child in advance to bring back all of the treats for you to inspect before he or she consumes anything. Here are some ideas of what kind of warning signs to look for:

  • Torn wrappers, opened ends, small incisions or poke holes
  • Small size – choking hazard
  • Homemade treats (unless given by a trusted friend)

Have a plan in place for how many treats can be consumed and when, and make sure you explain this plan to your child. Some people choose to donate the leftovers to their church, work or class at school to remove the temptation of too much candy at home.

  1. Let There Be Light

Before Halloween comes, consider ways to add some light to the situation. Tripping on broken sidewalks, stepping in unseen depressions in lawns and stumbling on steps can all be avoided with a good flashlight if you are planning on being out after dark. Glow sticks are easily accessible in most stores and can be tied with yarn or string to belt loops, pinned to the back of costumes or fastened around wrists to make your child more visible to traffic. Reflective tape is a smart addition to costumes.

“Spraining an ankle in a stranger’s yard can put a fast end to a night that should be fun,” said Dr. Meier. “Insist on a flashlight with fresh batteries for each person for maximum safety. Accidents do happen, no matter how prepared you are, so feel free to drop by Advance ER where we have X-ray and imaging equipment ready when you need us.”

  1. Costume Choices

When looking at costumes, consider clear vision as a #1 priority. If it’s a big mask with small eye holes, chances are good that your child will not be able to see at a crucial moment to avoid an injury. A better choice would be face paint and designed headbands or hats that pull off the theme of the costume without compromising vision. Make sure the costume doesn’t go past the knees which can be a tripping hazard and a jack-o-lantern fire hazard.

  1. Try Something New

If you don’t have a known safe place for your child to go Trick-or-Treating, consider one of the many community events as a more than equal substitute. Church events, library gatherings, community parties and more promise a full night of fun and games, candy and accountability.

You can relax knowing your child can be better supervised in a more controlled setting. Or, host your own party with a handful of favorite people and let your child help with the planning and preparation.

Open All Night on Halloween & Beyond

At Advance ER, our caring physicians and friendly staff wish your children a safe and fun Halloween. At our two locations, Galleria Area on Inwood and Park Cities on W. Lover’s Lane, we’re open 24/7 with No Waitcare available to patients of all ages. Advance ER…the right care in the right place at the right time.

Meet Dr. Meier:

Dr. Joseph Meier is board-certified in emergency medicine and he received his medical degree, with honors, from Mayo Medical School, Rochester, MN.

He completed his emergency medicine residency at UC Davis, Sacramento, CA, where he pioneered ultrasound protocols and chest pain protocols.