Tips on Staying Safe This Halloween
Halloween is the spookiest time of year, but no parent wants
to experience an actual scare on the holiday.
One rising Halloween concern
certain parents are facing is candy that can trigger a food allergy. According
to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), one in 13 children is affected by food allergies, and the holiday can be an especially difficult
time for them.
“Many traditional Halloween treats
can be dangerous for children with life-threatening food allergies,” said Michael Mitchell, M.D., pediatric emergency
medicine physician at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “It’s imperative for parents to
stay alert and conscious of what their children are given and what they
For a trick-free
night, Mitchell offers these safety tips:
Food Allergy Risk:
candies often contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat—some of the most common
allergens in children.
miniature or fun-size versions of candy products can contain different ingredients than their full-size
counterparts and the packaging of these
smaller items may not list the
treats such as bubbles, stickers
and crayons provide safe yet fun
alternatives for children with food allergies.
Parents of children that do not
suffer from food allergies should still monitor their child’s candy
consumption—large amounts of candy and sweet treats can result in abdominal
pain, Mitchell says.
Another safety concern over the
Halloween holiday is pedestrian-related injuries. On average, the
number of pedestrian-related fatalities among children significantly increases
on Halloween compared to any other night of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Halloween results in many children being on the street after
dark, and they are so excited that they may run out into the street without
thinking,” Mitchell said. “Certain costumes also
may impair vision, further increasing the danger of pedestrian related
On the Trick-or-Treat Trail:
- Children should have
costumes that are bright and reflective or
have reflective tape or striping on costumes and trick-or-treat bags for
- Chaperones and children
should have a flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Shoes should fit well and
costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact
While the average age of injury for other major holidays is
under 5, the age group at greatest risk on Halloween is 10 to 14, which could be
due to this age group receiving less adult supervision, according to
Mitchell and the
Journal of Pediatrics.
“We certainly want children to enjoy Halloween, but enjoy it
in a safe manner and without a visit to the emergency department,” Mitchell said. “These simple tips can
help ensure a safe Halloween for children of all ages.”