Monday, October 23, 2017

Halloween Safety Tips from a Loyola Medicine Pediatrician

MAYWOOD, IL – Halloween can serve up plenty of frights, but there are ways to minimize scares and maximize fun, said Loyola Medicine pediatrician Teresa Jensen, MD.

"Halloween is always a fun holiday for kids, but there are some things parents need to be aware of to make sure it stays enjoyable for everyone," said Dr. Jensen, a primary care physician and pediatrician who sees patients at the Loyola Center for Health at Gottlieb, 675 W. North Avenue, Melrose Park, Illinois.

Costume Guidelines

Dr. Jensen suggests parents have their child test his or her costume before Halloween, including any makeup, masks or accessories. Parents want to make sure the costume fits well and that a child can move around safely in it.

With masks and hats, ensure that a child can properly see when wearing it. Be sure to test makeup to avoid any potential allergic reaction the day of Halloween. 

Dr. Jensen also offers some advice for helping children be seen when walking around after dusk for trick-or-treating. 

"Place reflective tape on costumes or treat bags," Dr. Jensen said. "You want to make sure children are as visible as possible when they are out after dark, especially if their costume is dark colored." 

Trick-or-Treating Safety

When it comes to being able to safely trick-or-treat, Dr. Jensen has some guidelines for ghouls and witches of every age.

"You want to go over basic safety guidelines and traffic rules with your children," Dr. Jensen said. "Even teens can use a reminder to be cautious when crossing the street in the dark."

For young children: Attach an emergency contact card to your child's costume or tuck inside his or her treat bags in case you get separated. Rehearse addresses and phone numbers.

Grade school and junior high children: An adult should be nearby at all times when trick-or-treating.

Teens: Head out in groups on a pre-planned route with a set time to return home. If someone is bringing a cell phone, check to make sure it's fully charged. 

Food Safety

With all the candy children receive, Dr. Jensen said there are ways to avoid a prolonged sugar rush, including eating a balanced meal prior to leaving for trick-or-treating and posting a plan on the refrigerator to outline when children can access the treats in the following days.

Food allergies are the other big concern.

"Rehearse with children how they can ask about allergens or direct children to save all the treats to sort when they get home," Dr. Jensen said. "Families should also consider having a separate bowl for children with common food allergies, including peanuts, nuts and wheat."

Happy Halloween from Loyola Medicine!

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH) on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, and Loyola Outpatient Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 247-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

About Trinity Health

Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.