Halloween is a holiday that kids look forward to all year. It serves as a chance to get creative with costumes, decorate the house, carve pumpkins and most importantly, Trick-or-Treat. While Trick-or-Treating is a fun tradition, it can also lead to candy-overload. It is important to teach your children about moderation and the benefit of leading healthy lifestyles.
Excessive candy consumption in children can lead to stomachaches, diarrhea, poor or restless sleep and can have long-term effects such as cavities in the teeth, childhood obesity or diabetes.
There are many ways to ensure your child has a fun Halloween, while also making sure they maintain moderate candy consumption. One good rule of thumb is to not let children keep their Halloween candy in their rooms—to avoid pets getting into it or kids sneaking pieces at night. Also, it is always helpful to designate a candy jar or bag in the kitchen from which children must ask permission to have a piece of candy. It is also important to monitor your child’s candy consumption on Halloween night and to examine the candy collected by your children on Halloween and take away anything torn, broken or that can be a choking hazard for younger children.
With the holidays approaching, you can also encourage your children to make a pile of candy to donate to less-fortunate children at a homeless shelter.
To help make this Halloween a fun and safe holiday, go over basic safety protocols with your children beforehand, such as:
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.
- If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, make sure they know their address and phone number, and talk to them about sticking to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treating in groups.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk, and if no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
There is an array of exceptional family and primary care providers within the Cone Health Network to help educate families about safety, moderation, and healthy lifestyle choices.
Dr. Natalie Alexander is a family medicine provider at Cone Health Primary Care at MedCenter Kernersville and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Alexander completed medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. She completed a family medicine residency at Danville Regional Medical Center.