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Tips from a doctor (and a mom) for a safe Halloween

Avery trick or treatingHappy Halloween! Whether you're trick-or-treating or heading to a party tonight, make sure you and yours stay safe and healthy. Recently we spotlighted a list of recommendations from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital on how to keep the fun while ditching some of the calories (and sugar) imposed by trick-or-treating. During a Mayo Clinic Twitter chat earlier this week, Seattle pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, MD (@seattlemamadoc), mother of two boys, also offered tips on having a safe and healthy Halloween. Among her suggestions:

  • Start the evening with a family dinner and agree on a plan to limit candy consumption. Introduce kids to the Switch Witch.
  • Ensure a costume's proper fit (to avoid tripping) and affix flashing lights and reflectors for better visibility after dark. Also, make sure your kids can see: Try non-toxic face paint instead of a vision-obscuring mask. Know the risks of wearing decorative contact lenses.
  • If staying in, stock your caldron with healthy treats or stickers, pencils, and other non-food items to include children with food allergies or medical concerns.
  • Stay sober when escorting children. Whether driving or walking, keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.
  • Prepare your children for surprises that may be scary, even in the spirit of fun. Make sure children have a parent's phone number memorized and a plan of how to reconnect if they get lost.
  • For teens who go out on their own, choose small groups and have a code word in place in case they want to be picked up from a party early.
  • Inspect candy before allowing little children to eat it, and beware of choking hazards such as marshmallows and similarly squishy treats.

Swanson's boys will be dressing up as a Seattle Seahawks fan and a Lego piece.

Previously: How to avoid a candy-coated Halloween and Debunking a Halloween myth: Sugar and hyperactivity
Photo by Michelle Brandt

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