Staying safe this Halloween
Happy Halloween! It is that time where the cool air breezes, candy fills the houses of children and spooky stories are told all around. What is often a fun holiday for the kiddos also needs to be a safe one for the adults, and kids too of course. Read on to hear about the importance of staying safe on the road, and in your homes this holiday.
Allison Koonce, LMH Health Community Outreach & Engagement supervisor, said that it is important while trick-or-treating to walk on sidewalks or paths and to have a flashlight on you or someone in your group just in case.
“Much like we recommend for runners who run near dark, reflectors on your child’s bag or outfits are key to making sure they are seen by oncoming traffic,” Koonce said. “Of course we want kids and drivers to keep an eye out, look both ways and cross safely, but extra reflection to ensure they are seen is very important.”
Staying familiar with you and your kids surroundings can make for an easy and stress-free Halloween. When you are in neighborhoods you know, often with neighbors that you know, it can make both the parents and kids feel more secure. Staying in well-lit areas is always a good idea at night.
“If you like to take your kids to certain neighborhoods, make sure you are careful while out driving,” Koonce said. “We recommend staying as close to home as possible to avoid driving and getting out on the streets, but if you do, be careful of kids and little ones running across the street. Make sure to drive the speed limit and maybe even slower when going through the neighborhoods.”
Halloween Safety Tips
She said that when it comes to handing out candy, be aware of food allergies and choking hazards. This of course goes for those consuming the candy as well. Koonce said to be aware that sometimes the fun size of candy bars may be made differently and include food allergies that the larger ones may not have. As always, please do not give away non wrapped, homemade treats.
“Homemade treats are fantastic to bring wrapped to those you know and love, but to the general population, stay with wrapped candy,” she said. “This helps avoid allergic reactions and also keeps us safer in the time of COVID. When selecting candy, if you can swing the larger, full-size bars, the better! I don’t just say that so there are hundreds of happy trick-or-treaters this year, but because from a production standpoint, the larger bars are often made by themselves and not in other machinery where other fun-sized candies are made. This helps avoid accidental allergies.”
For little ones ages four and under, it is recommended to remove gum, peanuts, hard candy or toys that could be mistaken for candy. The rest can be enjoyed by all, responsibly of course.
“Make sure when you set out on your adventures that your family eats a good meal beforehand,” Koonce said. “This can help the kids not be so hungry for candy after and eat in moderation. Typically, 2-4 small pieces of candy is recommended depending on the sugar content. Suckers are great, as they take longer to eat than the chocolate bars. Above all, be safe, but have fun!”
Similarly to last year, Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, an infectious diseases doctor with LMH Health, said that we still need to be mindful of COVID-19 and how rapidly it can spread. Though many ages 12 and older are vaccinated, younger kids are still unable to receive their vaccine at this time. This means the spread of COVID-19 and its Delta variant could affect many homes if we are not careful.
“At this time, it is still recommended that if you are unvaccinated, you wear a mask when around others who are not from your household,” she said. “When outdoors, the general guidance is that you do not have to wear a mask, however if you are in close contact with others, it is safer for you to mask up. If you are vaccinated, to maximize protection, it is still advised you wear a mask in indoor public spaces and outdoor public spaces if there are a lot of people around. These areas have a higher risk for transmission of COVID, especially the Delta variant.”
As always, continue to try and remain six feet or more away from people who are not a part of your household. You should even try to separate yourself inside your home, if you live with someone who could be sick. Where possible, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces and wash your hands often, especially if trick or treating.
“It is important for kids to remain safe and healthy so they do not further spread infection to other household members or other kids at school,” Dr. Schrimsher said. “If trick-or-treating this year, it is imperative to keep a good distance away from other groups, wear a mask when needed and sanitize/wash your hands often. Do not accept homemade treats from strangers and only eat wrapped candy.”
As always, if you or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19, please follow all CDC guidelines and protect yourselves, your family and the community. If you are feeling ill, visit www.lmh.org today to find the nearest testing site it and call if you would like to get in for testing.
“Of course, we want to community to have fun this Halloween,” Dr. Schrimsher said. “We can still have fun and be safe, following all guidelines. For extra resources, you can visit our website at www.lmh.org/covid or visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus today.”