Pediatrician and Food Allergy Mom: How to Keep Kids with Severe Food Allergies Safe this Halloween. Halloween is fast approaching and parents have questions about how to stay safe this year – both about the ongoing pandemic and how to protect kids with food allergies. How can parents handle trick-or-treating if their child is allergic to common foods? How can we all ensure kids with food allergies feel safe and included? How can we be good neighbors to kids with food allergies on Halloween?
Julie Sweeney, MD is a pediatrician and mom to three boys with food allergies and intolerances. She is available to discuss tips and strategies for all parents about what to look out for and how to best keep all children safe this Halloween. Parents of kids with allergies need to know how they can keep their children safe while still having fun trick-or-treating. Other adults want to know what they can do to be good neighbors to these children, and they can take steps to make trick-or-treating allergy-safe and inclusive for all kids.
Dr. Sweeney recently participated in a webinar and addressed many of these issues, here’s an excerpt of some of the advice she shared:
Q: How can we keep kids with food allergies safe while they accept candy from neighbors, who may or may not know they are allergic?
Dr. Sweeney: First, kids with food allergies can and do have a blast on Halloween. It’s about balancing the fun, social aspect of the holiday with safety. As parents, we need to read labels for every piece of candy. In my family, we find it’s helpful to have a rule that we don’t eat candy while trick-or-treating. When the kids get home, we look at the candy and separate out what’s safe and what’s not.
Q: How can we model good behavior for friends and neighbors, who we know take cues from us on how to be sensitive to the needs of kids with an allergy.
Dr. Sweeney: In our house, we do a few things to show neighbors how to have a safe, fun Halloween. First, we give out non-food treats. Kids don’t just love candy – they also love things like glow sticks. Wearable glow jewelry is also a huge hit, as are pencils, erasers, temporary tattoos, stickers, and pretty much anything with googly eyes.