by Dustin Bogan, MSPAS, PA-C
As the weather gets cooler and the days start to feel shorter, so begins preparations for everyone’s favorite holiday, Halloween. Okay, so it may not be everyone’s favorite holiday, but the Fall is still a pretty “sweet” time of the year.
I still have some of the fondest memories of Halloween. My grandparents and I would pack up the car, costumes and all, and head to my mother’s house. She lived in the only neighborhood with houses close enough to truly trick-or-treat. We would spend hours packing hundreds of treat bags with candy, pencils, and toys for the trick-or-treaters. We also would do a soup and sandwich type family dinner which included one of my favorite beef vegetable soups. Fall remains one of my favorite seasons mostly due to the consistency and fun of having so much of my family together in one place.
Now as a pediatric provider, I know that regardless of whether you choose to celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating, enjoy the fall by staying home and baking your favorite pumpkin spiced treats, or even attend a lock in at your local church for a Fall Festival, there are some key safety tools to remember this time of year.
Of course, we will start with trick-or-treating:
First and foremost, make sure that your children are prepared for the holiday season and trekking through the neighborhood. Remind them of all local emergency numbers, including “911.” Reinforce that they remember their parent’s full names and phone numbers in case they need to contact them if separated from the group.
When creating or buying costumes, add reflective or lightly colored items to the costume in order to allow easy visibility to passing vehicles.
Of course, remember that loud noises, frequent visitors, and crowds can be very over stimulating for children with special needs, including those with Autism and ADHD. Prepare accordingly.
If your family chooses to stay in, baking or otherwise:
Properly label treats for children and adults. Make sure that “adult only” items are stored on higher shelves or in closed cabinets to prevent children from being exposed to the dangerous effects of things like alcohol, and also to prevent toddlers from reaching for the nearest choking hazard in the form of a baked treat.
Regardless of plans, when traveling:
Remember standard car safety strategies such as seat belts, booster seats, and car seats. Remember that children should be seated in the rear of the vehicle whenever possible. Of course, many of you encourage friends to tag along for the festivities, so please consider implementing entertaining toys or games in the car to decrease distraction of the driver. If teenagers are going to be responsible for driving younger children, please remind them of traffic laws and reinforce that there will be additional pedestrians on the road.
For more safety tips, see below resources:
or even check the website for your insurance company.
Most of all, have an incredible Fall season and an amazingly “spooktacular” October