MAYWOOD, Ill. – Halloween has become one of the most anticipated holidays for kids. For one night it is OK to be scared, free candy is everywhere and you can pretend to be someone or something completely different. Still, it’s up to parents to make sure kids have a spook-tacular time and not a horrifying experience.
“Kids love Halloween and it’s a great time to get outside and have some fun,” said Dr. Karen Judy, Loyola University Health System child safety expert and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Some of the best ways to keep kids safe on Halloween is to create boundaries and talk to your kids. Make sure you know who your kids are with and where they are going."
Though parents have heard it a million times, it is important to check all candy. This means:
Don’t let kids eat candy while trick-or-treating. This will keep kids safe from eating candy whose package has been opened and possibly tampered. It will also limit the amount of sugar they eat. This is good advice for parents, too.
If in doubt, throw it out. Throw away any treat that is homemade by someone you don’t know, a choking hazard or not completely wrapped. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Make Halloween allergy-free. Another great reason to check candy is to ensure your child does not have an allergic reaction. Candy may not be well marked so, again, if in doubt, throw it out. If your child has a nut allergy, make sure hands are washed after trick-or-treating. This will help to remove any food residue that may be on the hands.
“The combination of excitement and sugar does not leave much room for judgment. Make sure you talk to your kids before the holiday and set guidelines. I can’t stress enough the importance of supervision,” Judy said.
Though supervision is universal for Halloween safety, she does offer some age-specific tips.
School-age and preteen:
“Halloween is a truly memorable time of year and so much fun. It’s our job as parents to keep kids safe and help them truly enjoy this holiday,” Judy said.
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