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Keep your kids safe and healthy this Halloween

Halloween conjures up images of pumpkin buckets overflowing with candy, door-to-door trick-or-treating and costumed children. With the spread of H1N1, the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and concerns about kids’ general safety on Halloween night, parents are looking for healthy and safe ways to celebrate the holiday. The following are tips for a healthy, yet fun-filled Halloween:

Select Healthy “Treats”

“Sugarless gum, pre-packaged cheese and crackers, trail mix, nuts, corn nuts, granola bars, small bags of pretzels or popcorn, Goldfish cracker packages, individual hot chocolate packages and raisins are a great alternative to chocolates and sugary snacks,” says Peggy Pletcher, M.S., R.D., registered dietitian at Scott & White Healthcare – Round Rock.  Pletcher also suggests avoiding candy altogether and opting for fun-filled giveaways such as: stickers, balloons, crayons, pencils, colored chalk, whistles, rubber spiders and worms.

Don’t Eat the Treats All at Once

Although it’s tempting, parents need to take control and help children pace themselves when it comes to indulging in their bountiful treats. This helps teach your kids that most foods are okay in moderation.

Germ-Avoiding “Tricks”

A worry this All Hallow’s Eve is the spread of the H1N1 virus.  With children going door-to-door and accepting treats being handled by so many people, parents need to take extra precautions. Jennifer Helmcamp M.D., pediatrician at Scott & White Clinic – Wells Branch, offers the follows suggestions:

  • Remind children to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when they sneeze, or sneeze into the crook of their elbows.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating any treats. (Pack some hand sanitizer in case your goblins want to sneak a snack before getting home.)
  • Don’t allow sharing or trading of costume masks.
  • Discourage kids from touching their eyes, mouths, or noses since that is the quickest way to spread germs and contract viruses.

Ensure a Safe Halloween

Don’t forget your basic safety rules while you’re out with your kids trick or treating this year:

  • Make sure your children are wearing bright or reflective tape or carrying a flashlight so that they are visible.
  • Trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods that are well-lit.
  • Always go with your children to trick and treat and always accompany them to each door to receive treats.
  • Make sure children know how to call 911 in an emergency

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Keep your kids safe and healthy this Halloween