Pediatrician Offers Halloween Safety Tips

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Dr. John Rodarte is a pediatrician at Huntington Hospital.

We can all agree that Halloween 2021 is shaping up to be a much better one than Halloween 2020!
With COVID-19 cases trending downward in Southern California and many people already vaccinated against the disease, families are looking forward to doing some good old-fashioned trick-or-treating. However, with our youngest children still ineligible for vaccination, some precautions are still warranted.

Outdoor trick-or-treating in small groups is still the safest way to go. Being outdoors with good ventilation reduces the spread of COVID-19. If trick-or-treating in high density areas with lots of other adults and children on sidewalks and doorsteps, incorporate an appropriate face mask over the nose and mouth into your child’s costume for children 2 and over. Remember, costume masks are not a suitable substitute for barrier cloth or surgical masks since they usually contain ventilation openings for the nose or mouth.

Keep in mind that COVID-19 is not the only risk to trick-or-treaters, or perhaps even the biggest one. Pedestrian injuries are still the most common injuries to children on Halloween. Be sure to walk in groups, have flashlights for adults leading the group, especially when crossing streets and consider reflective tape for costumes or trick-or-treat bags. Also, individual pre-wrapped food items are the safest goodies for your little trick-or-treaters to enjoy.

If attending an indoor trick-or-treat party or event outside of your immediate household circle, be sure to wear a COVID-appropriate face mask and try to maintain safe physical distancing.
Trick-or-treating this year may present a few more challenges and safety concerns. However, with a little preparation and appropriate precautions, families can still enjoy a fun evening of trick-or-treating. So be safe and Happy Halloween!