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Halloween Tips
Oct 26th, 2011 Headlines

Halloween is a fun time of year for kids. But there are some health issues parents need to watch out for.

It is hard to believe but some Halloween costumes can be dangerous. Halloween is actually one of the top five days for fires, due to lit candles. Therefore, you want to make sure that your costumes, including wigs, hats, and masks, are flame-retardant.  Firstly, look at the labels. Don’t let your children wear costumes that are too long and could be dragged into a lit jack-o-lantern, for example.  Long costumes are also a tripping hazard.  In addition, be careful with masks that can obstruct a child’s view or may pose a choking hazard.

Some face paints can be irritating to the skin, so test it on a small area of your child’s skin first to make sure it doesn’t cause a reaction.  Keep in mind that the scary contact lenses-that can cleverly make your child look like they have devil or zombie eyes- can scratch the cornea or cause eye problems. It may be smart to avoid them.

Unfortunately, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween, as compared to any other day of the year.  Parents have all been there: driving around a neighborhood on Halloween at dusk or dark, with kids running across the street from house to house.  Most of the time, you can’t even see them. To help, make sure your child is wearing bright, reflective costumes when they go trick-or-treating. To assure that drivers and others can spot them in the darkness, give your child glow sticks to carry, or place strips of reflective tape on their costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

After Halloween passes, parents are left with a mound of candy to deal with. Keeping your child from binging is probably something you want to keep in mind. You may be inclined to deny your children the pure pleasure of diving into their bag of loot when they return from trick-or-treating. If you do that, however, you may be depriving them of the whole experience and sending the wrong message.  Candy, then, may even more desirable to them.  Therefore, parents need to find a healthy balance. Don’t let your child eat the whole bag, but have him or her choose a few pieces to eat that night. This way your child won’t feel deprived, and at the same time it won’t ruin their appetites or their teeth by eating candy all day long.

Are all candies just as bad? It’s hard to make the argument that any candy is good for you, but some may be worse than others.  For example, sticky/chewy candies, like gummy candies or licorice, are not popular with dentists because they can stick to the teeth and promote cavities.

To limit the damage done to teeth this time of year, encourage your kids to brush right after eating their candy and then again before bedtime.  Flossing is important, too.  If your child is old enough, (usually when they can consistently spit their toothpaste out) fluoride toothpaste will help prevent tooth decay.

Candy can be tempting for adults manning the front door as well. A clever tip: try to buy candy that you don’t like to hand out to trick-or-treaters.  Therefore, you will not be tempted to munch while answering the door for youngsters.  When Halloween is over, get it out of the house.  Take your leftover candy to the office.  Some organizations will accept candy donations and ship it out to troops serving overseas.



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