Baton Rouge, LA – Halloween conjures up images of buckets of overflowing candy, door-to-door trick-or-treating and costumed children. Alicia Kober, MD, Ochsner Health Center – Baton Rouge Pediatrician, offers a few tips to keep your “ghost or goblin” safe this year:
• Select costumes made from flame-retardant fabric that are short enough to prevent tripping.
• Decorate costumes with reflective tape for greater visibility at night.
• Use hypo-allergenic make-up rather than masks, and don't use props that could harm the eye.
• Younger children should be accompanied by an adult, and older children should trick-or-treat in groups.
• Remind trick-or-treaters to watch for traffic, carry a flashlight, and avoid sampling goodies until you have inspected them.
“Once the treats are home, parents should throw away any home-made candy, baked goods or unwrapped items,” says Dr. Kober. “Any candy that may pose a choking hazard, such as gum, hard candy or small toys, should be taken away from younger children.” Dr. Kober adds that parents should inspect all candy for signs of tampering before children begin eating.
Healthy treat options
Today’s growing epidemic of childhood obesity has many parents looking for alternatives to traditional Halloween treats. “Parents truly have a wealth of fun options when it comes to Halloween goodies now,” says Dr. Kober. A few suggestions include:
• Pre-packaged cheese and crackers
• Trail mix
• Corn nuts
• Granola bars
• Small bags of pretzels or popcorn
• Goldfish cracker packages
• Individual hot chocolate packages
Another alternative is giving non-food treats such as: stickers, balloons, crayons, pencils, colored chalk, whistles, rubber spiders and worms. Dr. Kober also recommends rationing your child’s loot by making weekly snack bags to be eaten over time rather than all at once.
Don’t get tricked by germs
Cold and flu season is upon us and with children going door-to-door and accepting treats being handled by many, parents need to take extra precautions.
• Remind children to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when they sneeze, or sneeze into their elbow
• Wash hands thoroughly before eating any treats. Carry hand sanitizer in case early snacking cannot be avoided.
• Do not allow sharing or trading of costume masks.
Dr. Kober sees patients at Ochsner Health Center – Baton Rouge located at 9001 Summa Avenue and at Ochsner Health Center - Central located at 11424 Sullivan Road.
About Ochsner’s Baton Rouge services:
Ochsner’s Baton Rouge services include six local health centers and Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, a full service acute care hospital located at I-12 and O’Neal Lane. Ochsner employs more than 1,000 locally, including nearly 100 physicians. Ochsner Baton Rouge is a part of Ochsner Health System, southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system. For more information, please visit www.ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.