Column: Staying safe and healthy on Halloween

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(Photo by Christina Ulsh)

By DANA WESTMORELAND

Halloween is a time for kids to dress up, roam the streets in droves with friends and have plenty of fun. But parents like us worry about our children while they’re out trick-or-treating. From candy to cars to costumes, how can we keep them safe on a night that’s supposed to be about fun? As a childcare provider, I’ve found some practical tips to help ease parents’ concerns on Halloween.

Check the stash
Screen your children’s candy loot when they come home. Throw away any opened candy or homemade treats from people you don’t know.

Make sure your children eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. It will give them the energy they need to take on the neighborhood and also keep them from filling up on pure sugar. Also remind them to brush their teeth!

Prioritize street safety
Halloween can be a busy night on the road and when you factor in drivers who may be leaving parties under the influence, it can be a recipe for disaster. Instruct your children to trick-or-treat away from busy roads and make sure all costumes include a reflective element.

Trick-or-treat together
Younger children should be accompanied by parents or other adults while trick-or-treating. When the older kids trick-or-treat without parents, it’s important that they stay in groups and tell parents where they’ll be. Choose neighborhoods that you know well and are populated with homes and other trick-or-treaters, and only trick-or-treat at houses that are well lit.

Dress wisely
Make sure your kids dress for the weather and wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in. Remember to wear bright or reflective clothes so cars can see kids as the sun goes down.

Practice common sense
Remind children never to enter into someone’s home while trick-or-treating, and remember to say thank you for the candy! Have fun and be safe!

Dana Westmoreland owns and operates Children’s Lighthouse Valley Parkway with her husband Mark.