Halloween Safety: Don’t get tricked by the treats!

With Halloween approaching, parents are currently bombarded with advice about costumes, decorations, party ideas, etc.  Well, I’ll put in my two cents about having not just a Happy Halloween, but a safe one.

Halloween is all about parties and candy.  And, parties are a notorious time for kids to get injured.  There are a lot of people around, foods they don’t usually eat, and things they don’t usually do.  Parties can be kind of stressful for a pediatrician, sadly.  Everywhere I look I see potential hazards.  One of the biggest problems is choking hazards.  It’s tough to be such a spoilsport, but here is a list of things that one should really stay away from at parties that include young children.

* Balloons: A major, and often under-recognized choking hazard.  Young children love them, and often chew on them.  There is a risk of popping and blocking the airway.  Keep balloons out of the reach of young children, or choose other decorations.  See, total spoilsport.

* Foods:  Avoid raw carrot sticks, hot dog rounds, whole grapes, popcorn, nuts, seeds, gum, marshmallows, and hard candies.  Children can’t really handle these foods until at least 4 years old, when they have a more mature chewing mechanism.  Cut all snacks up into small pieces.

* Decorations/Party favors:  Avoid small favors, like plastic rings or coins, that children could potentially swallow.  Trust me, you really don’t want to be in the ER trying to figure out exactly where that thing went.

* When it is time for a snack at a party, use a portable high chair or sit with your child and eat together.  Choking is much more likely when a child is running around while eating.

So, go out and have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween.  We’ll be out there with our little tiger.  Here are some great links for more information on Halloween safety, healthy Halloween options, and ways to go green this Halloween.

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