Kaiser Permanente health expert offers advice to safeguard children’s health.
With Halloween approaching, many parents are rightfully asking whether it’ll be safe for their kids to trick-or-treat this year as COVID-19 continues to dominate the news.
The answer is a conditional yes if certain precautions are taken, according to a Kaiser Permanente children’s health expert.
“It’s a mixed bag,” said Daisy Dodd, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California. “Your children are likely to be safer if certain precautions are taken this Halloween. But, if you’re reluctant, you may want to consider something a little bit different to ensure a more controlled environment for your children without taking away the fun.”
According to Dr. Dodd, it should be OK for children to trick-or-treat on Halloween as long as they are outdoors, physically distanced, and in small groups. Other precautions can help keep your kids safe.
Dr. Dodd noted that because children under 12 years old cannot currently be vaccinated against COVID-19, parents may want to consider alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating, where younger kids are likely to interact with other children and adults.
“My message is, if at all possible, keep it within the family, close friends, or relatives, and preferably outdoors, including at a park,” Dr. Dodd noted. “That way, you have a more controlled environment where transmission of the virus is more limited. You know who’s coming rather than going door to door.”
Here are some fun activities that provide alternatives to trick-or-treating.
“If your children do go out trick-or-treating, for maximum protection, they can wear gloves and not eat any candy while walking around,” Dr. Dodd continued. “Once at home, parents can spread all candy on a table and inspect it by making sure it is well-wrapped and nothing is open. Children should then remove their gloves, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and then enjoy the sweet treats.
“It’s understandable that for many children, Halloween is a special day of fun and dress-up,” Dr. Dodd continued. “With good planning and precautionary measures, parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids will be safe on this special day.”