Category Archives: holidays

Halloween Safety Tips

Today’s entire blog below is quoted from the AAP, here.  Have a great Halloween!

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help ensure they have a safe holiday.

All Dressed Up:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

Carving a Niche:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Home Safe Home:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

On the Trick-or-Treat Trail:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Healthy Halloween:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

Whether dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, or having parties with their friends, most kids love Halloween. But did you know that Halloween is also a time when more children than usual end up in the emergency room due to falls, traffic collisions and other injuries? All the sweets in the house (and at school) can also wreak havoc on a child’s teeth and healthy diet.

To help ensure your child’s Halloween is both safe and healthy, pediatrician Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP joins the Healthy Children show on RadioMD with some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Listen here.



E. coli and other nasty things: how to have good food safety for your cookout or picnic

The holiday weekend approaches, with plans for picnics, cookouts, reunions, and fun!  At the same time we’re hearing about a recall of nearly 2 million pounds of ground beef that is possibly contaminated with E. coli bacteria.  How can you be sure about the safety of the food you’re serving your family?

You are right to be cautious.  Foodborne illnesses can be very serious, even deadly.  E. coli, in particular, can cause organ failure, and children may be especially vulnerable.

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind.

  • Cook ground meats ALL the way through.  Pink interiors mean raw meat, and when that meat is ground, microbes that used to be on the surface of the meat can now be deep inside it.  If the meat is fully cooked, any E. coli should be taken care of.
  • Cook poultry completely through.  Chicken, in particular, can be contaminated with Salmonella.
  • Don’t reuse the plate that held raw meat or poultry.  It must be washed before being used to hold cooked meat or other foods.  The same goes with knives and other utensils.
  • Keep food separate.  Fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be stored in the same container with uncooked meat and poultry, for example.
  • Chill leftovers soon.  This is important when you’re at a picnic and far from your refrigerator.  Take a cooler and ice packs.
  • Keep your hands clean.  Wash them often.  Take hand sanitizer on your picnic.  Don’t change a baby’s diaper while preparing food.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables.  When you clean poultry in the sink, be sure to sanitize the sink afterwards so that you don’t contaminate food, dishes and utensils.

More information is available here from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A fun holiday is a safe holiday.  Enjoy the time together and have a great weekend!

© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Tanning beds?

Checking the thermometer—or even looking out the window—in Central Kentucky this week, it’s hard to believe that spring break is just around the corner. Many people will be heading south for a little sun and warmth.  Others are just dreaming of summer days here, with days by the pool or sunbathing in the back yard.  And still others are imagining prom pictures and how they’ll look in that special dress or tux.

Whether preparing for a trip south, wanting to look your best or thinking ahead to summer, lots of people turn to tanning beds for a “base tan” in March and April.

In Kentucky’s current legislative session a physician has introduced a bill banning the use of tanning beds in the state by anyone under the age of 18.  It’s a bill we support, and here’s why:

  • Indoor tanning (tanning beds) is associated with an increased incidence of skin cancers, including melanoma (the most dangerous kind).
  • The use of indoor tanning has increased among teens, especially girls, in recent years.
  • Depending on the particular tanning bed used, you may receive up to 15 times the UVA rays that you would receive from exposure to midday summer sun.
  • Tanning has cumulative effects.  The more sunburns, and even tanning, your body receives over the years increases the odds you will develop skin cancers.  Tanning also causes premature skin aging and damages all the layers of the skin.

A tan does not make you more healthy; the facts support the opposite—tanning causes long-term damage.

So, don’t allow or encourage your teens to use tanning beds.  Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.


© 2014 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Halloween Safety

As the goblins, witches, and zombies in your family prepare for a load of candy this week, don’t forget to consider safety.  A surprisingly large number of youngsters end up in the emergency room each Halloween, even though there are simple ways to avoid many injuries.

You may be surprised to know that lots of injuries are related to costuming.  Observe these practices and you can greatly reduce risk:

  • Use reflective tape.  It’ll be dark out there, and you want your trick-or-treater to be visible to drivers and others.
  • Be careful of masks.  Just as visibility is important, so is vision.  A mask should not inhibit your ghoul from being able to see traffic, curbs, and steps, or any other walking hazard.
  • Watch the length.  Going up steps and over curbs requires a shorter length to keep your skeleton from tripping and breaking a bone or suffering a sprain.
  • Light up the dark.  Send your wizard off with a flashlight, which can double as a magic wand.

Observing is essential.  Keep your ghosts in view so you are always aware where they are and who they’re with.

Have a conversation about safety before they hit the sidewalk.  Look carefully before crossing the street; don’t go into any home unless parents have said it’s okay; be considerate of others, especially of children who are younger.  There’s plenty of candy to go around.

Speaking of candy…  Okay, so that’s what it’s all about.  But too much candy at once can turn your little zombie into a Tasmanian Devil.  Set up some rules ahead of time.  How much candy can be eaten on Halloween, and how much should be saved for future treats?  Most candy freezes well.

So, when the ghoulish night arrives, be safe and have a great time!


artwork by Kennedy

artwork by Kennedy

© 2013, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved.