Make Halloween a Treat for Your Kids

Simple precautions can ensure a safe, healthy night of fun, experts say

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SUNDAY, Oct. 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- You can keep your little ghouls and goblins safe, happy and healthy during their trick-or-treating by following some simple steps this Halloween, say Duke University Medical Center experts.

Before your children head out for Halloween, make sure they've had a good, healthy meal that will fill them up and make them less likely to eat treats that haven't yet been inspected by an adult. If the packaging is unfamiliar or appears to have been altered, throw the treat away.

Parents might also consider sending their children out with some fruits or nuts as snacks.

"Discuss with children what constitutes a reasonable number of treats to consume when they get home and be cautious with homemade treats -- if you are unclear about the source of the treat, throw it away," Elisabetta Politi, nutrition manager at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, said in a prepared statement.

Falls are among the most common Halloween-related injuries, noted Claudia McCormick, program director of the Duke Trauma Center. Parents need to make sure that costumes won't cause children to trip. Children should wear well-fitting shoes. Don't send them out in floppy shoes or shoes with high heels. And they should walk in well-lit areas.

Children should trick-or-treat with an adult and only go to homes of people they know. They should wear light-colored costumes with a reflective coating so they can be easily seen by drivers.

"Daylight savings time will have ended and many children will be outdoors after sunset. Carrying a flashlight after dusk will help trick-or-treaters to be seen, as well as help them avoid hidden obstacles such as ditches, broken curbing and yard decorations," McCormick said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more Halloween safety tips.

SOURCE: Duke University Medical Center, news release, October 2005

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