SATURDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The really scary thing about Halloween can be the amount of candy that children get and eat.
To ensure a safe and healthy Halloween for kids, here are some tips for parents from Dr. William Gillespie, a pediatrician and chief medical officer at EmblemHealth:
- Give children a healthy snack before they go trick-or-treating so that they'll be less tempted to eat their sweets as they go door-to-door. Make sure your children understand that they can't eat any of their candy until you check to make sure it is safe. Get rid of homemade treats made by strangers.
- Allow your children to pick out a few of their favorite treats to have right after trick-or-treating. Keep the rest of their candy out of sight and allow them only one to two pieces when they ask for it.
- Consider trading a toy or extra allowance for your children's candy. If they are young enough, say the "Candy Fairy" will substitute a toy for the candy if they leave it out for her.
- Be a role model by consuming Halloween treats in moderation yourself. Also, it's a good idea to buy candy at the last minute and get rid of leftovers to avoid temptation.
- Let caregivers such as grandparents and babysitters know the rules on candy, which will prevent children from getting mixed messages.
- Think about giving out non-food treats such as stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, bubbles, small games or colored pencils. If you prefer to give out candy, choose bite-sized ones and hand out dark chocolate (it has antioxidants) or hard candy (it takes longer to eat).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more Halloween health and safety tips.
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