Halloween is an exciting time for dressing up in fun costumes, setting up spooky decorations and filling up pillowcases of candy to bring home. While kids are only concerned about having fun and doing all of the traditional Halloween activities, they are not thinking about the dangers of the night; that’s our job. Things like wearing costumes improperly or not paying attention to traffic on the roads can often lead to some Halloween related injuries and health concerns.
And then there’s COVID.
In addition to this, COVID-19 complicates the holiday even more. Cases have been going up, especially in the Greater Danbury area. As we get ready for the spooky holiday, AFC Urgent Care Danbury wants everyone to continue to stay safe, get COVID-19 tested and follow a plan when going trick or treating or to small gatherings.
Here are our 4 Halloween health and safety tips you can use as a guide in 2020 for keeping your child safe, injury free and COVID-19 protected this Halloween.
1. Get COVID-19 tested
According to the Department of Public Health for Connecticut, their guidance for Halloween festivities in 2020 emphasizes the mandatory use of masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing and sanitizing. As COVID-19 is still ongoing, we suggest adding COVID-19 testing as a part of your Halloween preparation and a follow-up step after you attend an event or gathering this weekend. It is important to remember that by getting tested, you will prevent bringing the virus to someone who may be a high-risk individual. In addition to this, we also suggest getting tested for COVID-19 at least 3-5 days after any event or gathering so that you can be sure that you didn’t get the virus. This is especially important so that we don’t go around spreading the virus if we’re asymptomatic.
Other important guidance to include from the DPH:
- Avoid large groups and gatherings that exceed over 25 people.
- Avoid haunted houses ( unless they’re drive-throughs), hayrides, and closed spaces where you can’t maintain social distancing of 6 feet
- Avoid face to face contact at houses when going trick or treating
We also suggest homeowners set up candy stations outside for “grab and go” trick or treating. You can also add hand sanitizer stations for trick or treaters and parents to maintain frequent hand sanitation.
2. Road safety and being visible
Traffic accidents are very common on Halloween. According to the CDC, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Kids are small, have trouble judging distances and speeds, are often wearing dark costumes without reflectors, and have little to no experience with traffic rules.
Drivers on the other hand have a hard time seeing kids who are dressed in dark costumes. They also have to be on the lookout for trick or treaters who cross the roads or intersections without warning. So, how do we keep our children safe on the roads and be cautious while driving?
- Take special care to turn corners slowly and don’t pass stopped vehicles
- Watch your speed. It might seem like common sense but we need to say it: drive especially slow and cautiously Halloween night, especially in dense neighborhoods loaded with trick or treaters.
- Watch for children who might dart into the street and yield for those who are trying to cross
- Not use their phone while driving, as distracted driving can lead to accidents
- Not drive under the influence
- Buckle up everyone in the car no matter how short the trip is if you plan on driving your kids from house to house
Parents and supervising adults should:
- Accompany young children at all times
- Help their children choose lighter colored costumes or use reflective tape to help them be more visible in the dark
- If you have older children at home who are trick or treating alone, plan their route in advance and give them a curfew
- Talk to your trick or treater about basic traffic laws so everyone is on the same page when crossing the road
- Use flashlights so your child can see and be seen in the dark.
- Use crosswalks. Don’t cross the street from between parked cars or where there isn’t a crosswalk. Don’t assume you have the right away. Always pay attention!
3. Watch out for Halloween Candy Allergies
Having food or candy allergies doesn’t mean that your child can’t enjoy Halloween. It just means that you have to take a few extra precautions when considering what types of candy or food your child can ingest. Here are some tips to consider when filling your bag with candy:
- Always carry an auto-injectable epinephrine with you
- Never accept any handmade foods as you don’t know what ingredients are in them
- Teach your kids to be conscious of what treats they take and to politely say no to certain foods and candy unless they’re from someone you know and trust
- Always check the candy at the end of the night. If the packaging is tampered, opened or has holes, throw it out
- Finally, obviously, don’t let your child eat all of their candy in one night. Try to ration the candy by day or week so that it lasts longer
4. Say BOO to the FLU!
While we’re busy making sure our children are safe on the roads and safe from allergen containing ingredients, the last thing on our minds is our overall health. Children will be coming home to dump their bags of candy on the table while forgetting to wash their hands. If you really think about it, you and your child are going to be making contact with all sorts of individuals when going door to door. It only takes one person to spread germs amongst a group of trick or treaters. It is in everyone’s best interest to get their flu shot and to make sure to wash your hands frequently.
Remember: Getting vaccinated not only protects you from the flu, but it reduces the chance of your loved ones from getting it as well. Additionally, a flu vaccine will help eliminate the confusion of flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Avoid the “twindemic” and get a flu shot
Stay safe, healthy and COVID-19 free this Halloween!
We really hope that everyone stays safe and healthy this Halloween. If you need us for flu vaccines or COVID-19 tests, we offer both services, 7 days a week. Remember to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing when going out for trick or treating or a social gathering.
At AFC Urgent Care Danbury you can walk right in, no appointment necessary, to any of our 3 Danbury walk-in clinics. We are located at 2 Main Street, 100 Mill Plain Road, and 76c Newtown Road, or schedule a TeleMed appointment. We are now offering the COVID-19 Rapid Test by appointment as well. All our locations are open 7 days a week and ready to treat you, and we accept most insurances.