Pediatrician offers advice on keeping trick-or-treaters safe

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - The little ghouls and goblins are ready for All Hallows Eve, but too many trick-or-treaters end up in the doctor's office.

Pediatrician Dr. Kathrym Espana with Texas Children's Hospital advises parents that when it comes to costumes, "it's always better to choose brighter costumes to make sure people can see them, especially in Houston areas where they don't have a lot of lighting in the streets."

Espana said reflectors can be helpful and parents should make sure the costumes aren't too long, which can cause trips and falls.

She also advises against plastic princess shoes because she said, "Most 3-year-oldz can't really walk long distances in plastic heels. So I'd rather have them wear tennis shoes or something and they can put the plastic stuff on at home for a little while when they get home."

Espana also recommended kids under the age of 12 stick with parents on Halloween night. As for older kids, she suggested they go together in big groups, never go inside a home and carry a cellphone.

She added, "Especially for the little kids, you take out all small candy or gum that can actually be a choking hazard for them. Also, anything that doesn't look like it's store-bought and wrapped should be thrown away.

Decorative contact lenses are a growing fad with teens and tweens, but they can pose serious health risks like corneal ulcers, even blindness, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists.

Espana agreed, "Their eye can be kind of red and itchy and when it eventually gets to be worse, they can have drainage and some watery eyes or green drainage out of the eye and they'll need to take them out and see a physician to make sure there's not any kind of scratch in their cornea."

If you're planning on using face paint Halloween night, look for non-toxic, water- and oil-based paint.

They tend to be more expensive, but doctors said they're much less likely to irritate the skin.

Espana added, "You can actually put a little bit, maybe just a small amount, on their face before they cover their entire face to make sure they're not having an allergic reaction."

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