AHN passed along a press release detailing some tips for parents & kids who plan on trick or treating this year..
PITTSBURGH, Pa (DATE) –As Halloween festivities quickly approach, clinicians from Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Pediatric Institute are urging participating families to take appropriate safety precautions during the covid-19 pandemic.
“Several local communities in our area have kept Halloween traditions in place this year and we anticipate that many members of the household, children included, will join in on the festivities,” said Joseph Aracri, MD, pediatrician and chair of the AHN Pediatric Institute. “Although it’s impossible to eliminate all risks associated with the pandemic, there are some simple precautions families can take to minimize their risks.”
According torecent polling dataon behalf of the National Confectioners Association, 75 percent of young parents say that Halloween is more important than ever this year with 80 percent of all surveyed saying that heading out to trick-or-treat is at the top of their list of things to do on Halloween.
“We understand that seasonal happenings like Halloween present a unique opportunity to instill more normalcy during a challenging time for so many. That’s why we want to equip our patients with as much information as possible so they can enjoy themselves but do so safely and responsibly,” Dr. Aracri continued.
In late September, the CDC issued Halloween-specific guidance for family activities in low, moderate and high-risk categories. The low-risk level included activities such as pumpkin carving at home and virtual costume contests while moderate-risk involved small-group, open-air costume parades and one-way trick-or-treating with prepackaged goodie bags.
Traditional trick-or-treating in the neighborhood is classified as a high-risk activity. Dr. Aracri urges families to adhere to the following guidelines, in addition to the routine covid-19 preventative measures of mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing.
- Don’t replace cloth masks for Halloween masks– for children and parents, Halloween masks aren’t a viable alternative to standard cloth masks; incorporate cloth masks into the costume and leave the decorative ones behind this year.
- Distribute candy individually to children– leaving out a bowl of candy may pose increased risk of spread for children taking their share. For those handing out candy, it’s important to wear a mask for the duration and give each piece out individually, washing hands in between trick-or-treaters.
- Maintain social distance– it’s very important to keep a safe distance when walking in the neighborhood, even though it’s outdoors. If possible, follow routes one-way to minimize crowding and socializing with community members outside of the household.
- Hand sanitizer recommended over gloves– gloves will only be useful if children change them in between each household. Instead, it will likely be easier to bring hand sanitizer for frequent use and wash hands thoroughly as soon as children return home.
- Monitor symptoms– if children, or a member of the family, are exhibiting any flu or covid-19 symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath or fever, all should refrain from any festivities outside of the household and contact their physician’s office.
“In addition to following these steps, it’s also critical to stay up-to-date with the number of covid-19 infections in the community to determine if it’s a low or high-risk environment,” said Dr. Aracri. “Most importantly, individuals and families should forgo large indoor gatherings this year, like costume parties or haunted houses. The key is to still have fun this Halloween while limiting close contact with others.”
Outside of covid-19 safety measures, it’s also important to remember traditional Halloween safety guidelines of keeping children in bright, flame-retardant costumes, monitoring traffic and inspecting candy after returning home, Dr. Aracri said.
For more information on the AHN Pediatric Institute, visit ahn.org.
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