Although Halloween has always been a holiday where youngsters and adults alike celebrate ghosts, goblins and other scary things, Eskenazi Health experts alert everyone that there are real aspects to Halloween that require everybody’s attention and concern.
Whether you live in a busy area with heavy traffic or have children who are sensitive to sugar, Halloween can be a tricky time for parents. Experts at Eskenazi Health want to ensure everyone has a happy, safe and healthy Halloween night.
According to a study conducted by the Department of Research and Scientific Affairs, children ages 10-14 suffered the greatest amount of injuries on Halloween. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Additionally, falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries during Halloween.
"When out and about on Halloween and throughout the year, parents and children should take every precaution to remain safe,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, associate medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “For all trick-or-treaters and their parents we recommend extreme caution and wearing reflective clothing and bright colors while outside enjoying Halloween.”
For those parents and children planning to venture out for trick-or-treating, official trick-or-treating hours for the City of Indianapolis are between 6 and 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31.
From a health and wellness aspect, doctors say children with diabetes can eat some candy, but the carbohydrates of each treat should be factored into the child’s meal plan for that day and the child’s insulin level adjusted accordingly.
If you or your children are diabetic, or you just want to stay healthy this Halloween, consider candy substitutes. Instead of handing out sugary treats, try colorful stickers, pencils or magnets. Food items such as fruit, trail mix or almond packets are also a great alternative to candy.
“All kids love Halloween candy and it’s difficult to rely on self-control when attempting to eat it in moderation,” said Ryan Bojrab, DPT, manager of Eskenazi Health Healthy Me and Eskenazi Health Wellness. “We suggest donating candy to a local program for children who did not have the opportunity to enjoy trick-or-treating. Displaying generosity in that fashion could become a tremendous lesson for children.”
To help prevent children from snacking on treats, Bojrab suggests giving them a light meal, glass of milk or healthy snack before they head out to trick-or-treat. Parents should also consider rationing the collected candy to avoid cavities and stomachaches.
Children with food allergies also need to be extremely careful on Halloween. Consuming items that contain nuts or peanuts may result in a trip to the emergency room. Other common sources of food allergies in kids include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
For more information on the services Eskenazi Health provides, or to find a primary care physician, please call Eskenazi Health Connection at 317.880.8687.