HMFW Offers Healthy Halloween Tips
10/29/2007
FORT WORTH, Texas – This month neighborhood streets will be filled with a mix of fairy princesses, half-pint superheroes, want-to-be professional athletes and pumpkins galore. Before the kids don their costumes and hit the streets to trick-or-treat their way to a happy Halloween, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is offering parents a few tips to make their fall festivities as safe and healthy as they are fun.

Safety First
A few safety precautions can make the trick-or-treat trail less tricky to navigate. Reggie Jackson, chief of security at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, offers these tips:
  • Consider trick-or-treating while it is still light outside.
  • Carry a flashlight. This helps light the trick-or-treat trail so that children can see and be seen by others.
  • Take a cell phone in case of an emergency and make sure children know their home phone number.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts across backyards or alleys. Stick to the sidewalks of well-lit streets.
  • Instruct your children to bring all candy home before eating it so that you can carefully inspect it for tampering.
  • It is not recommended to eat candy or treats that are homemade unless you know the individual whode them. Throw out unwrapped items or items that appear to have been tampered with (pinholes in wrappers, torn wrappers, etc.)
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for added visibility.
  • Remove any mask or item that may limit vision before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
  • Smaller children should always be with an adult while trick-or-treating.
  • Be cautious of animals and strangers.
  • Make sure your child knows the difference between tricks and vandalism.

Halloween Health and Pumpkin Carving Caution
Herschel Brown, M.D., an emergency department physician on the medical staff of Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, says choking hazards and food allergies can halt Halloween happenings.

“Parents should pay close attention to the candy their child receives,” Dr. Brown said, “Check out the candy before they eat it and take out anything that presents a chocking hazard for the little one, and items that your child might be allergic to, such as peanuts and candy that contains milk products.”

Dr. Brown also says too much of a good thing can trouble your child later. “Don't let your child eat all of his or her candy in one sitting, or their Halloween can turn into a nightmare for their tummies,” he said.

Pumpkin carving is another hallmark Halloween activity for adults and children but can be dangerous if carvers are not careful. Dr. Brown says a little carving caution can help spare fingers and hands from Halloween horrors. Dr. Brown offers the following tips:

  • Utilize available pumpkin decorating kits and craft supplies to make a cute pumpkin that doesn't require any cutting.
  • Use paints and markers to create a funny or scary pumpkin, eliminating the need for a knife. The pumpkin will last longer this way.
  • If you decide to carve a pumpkin with a knife, make sure the knife is sharpened.
  • Make sure to cut away from your body and not toward your hand.
  • Always have adult supervision and do not leave knives lying around.
  • Keep hands dry so the knife does not become slippery.
  • Cut slowly and carefully.
  • Have a great time decorating your pumpkin!

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Opened in 1930, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is a Magnet-designated hospital, and Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 710 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. The campus is home to almost 1,000 members of the medical staff, more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and the new state-of-the-art 100-bed Harris Methodist Heart Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.TexasHealth.org/HMFW.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR's family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit http://www.texashealth.org/.