Kaiser Permanente Southern California Pediatricians Offer Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween
Kaiser Permanente pediatric chiefs throughout Southern California were surveyed on the top reason kids end up sick after Halloween, and the answer is: eating too much candy! Tummy aches are the most frequently reported childhood ailment during the season of Ghosts'n Goblins and overeating candy seems to be the common cause.
“Halloween is synonymous with costumes and trick-or-treating. However, an abundance of candy, chocolate bars and other sugary treats are also part of the festivities,” said Robert Riewerts, MD, pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center and Regional Chief of Pediatrics, Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “While a few treats are ok – Halloween comes once a year after all and you want the whole family to have fun – parents really need to limit the amount of candy their children can have and make the sweets part of a balanced diet,” he added.
So how can parents reinforce the healthy eating message they've been working so hard to maintain?
Some tips from the experts:
- If you're giving out treats select healthier choices. Pretzels, raisins, and popcorn are also treats children enjoy!
- Instead of candy, hand out stickers, pencils and other fun Halloween-themed school supplies.
- If you go trick-or-treating, make sure the entire family has a healthy and hearty meal first. This will prevent tasting candy along the way due to hunger!
- Allow a 2-3 piece candy limit per day – maybe one piece at lunch and the other after dinner – and make sure you stash the rest out of reach and sight. Just a handful of candy can provide an unnecessary 24 teaspoons of sugar.
- Encourage your children to donate their candy to a senior center, food bank, or homeless shelter. Then reward their act of kindness with a fun book!
- Trick-or-treating means a walk around the neighborhood. Play some games along the way; maybe power walk from one house to the next; hop up to the door! Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Mom, dad, lead by example! Don't tell your kids they can't eat their candy, while you indulge in treats!
Some safety tips:
- Don't let children trick-or-treat alone...even if it's just around the corner!
- Make sure you carry a flashlight or other reflective accessories so people can see you.
- Look both ways before crossing the street; always use crosswalks where available.
- Examine all candy before taking a bite. Throw away any pieces that may look tampered with or could be a choking threat.
- Test make-up before applying; check for rashes, irritation.
- Avoid falls by ensuring costumes aren't too long or dragging and masks aren't covering the eyes.
- If Halloween night is cold, make sure you keep warm; especially if your child has asthma or any other respiratory illness.
By following these tips, not only will Halloween be tummy ache free, but the whole family will be able to enjoy knowing they had a healthy and safe night!
About Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 3.5 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
Southern California Region