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9 Things Not to Be Afraid of This Halloween. Relax - stats show that your kids will be safe. Babble.com

9 Things Not to Be Afraid of This Halloween

Relax – stats show that your kids will be safe.

by Sierra Black

October 29, 2009

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Back when I was a reporter for a daily newspaper, I’d be called on to do a Halloween safety story every November. You know the one: the article that shows up in your local newspaper between the costume contest photos and the fundraising drive, reminding you not to take candy from strangers and to dress your kids as flashing red stoplights before setting foot outdoors after dark.

Here’s the dish those articles never serve up. Read it, and enjoy Halloween a little more this year, knowing that you don’t need to be scared of . . .

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Poisoned Candy

According to Harper’s index, the number of children ever killed by doctored Halloween candy given to them by strangers equals a whopping zero. I for one plan to continue taste-testing my kids’ snacks for poisons, but only the good stuff

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Choking

Now that you’re not worried about your kids’ candy being poisoned, you can go ahead and let them eat it without fear of choking. Between 1999 and 2002, over 75% of choking deaths were people over 65. Only about 100 children die from choking each year. While many more are rushed to hospital emergency rooms, fewer than 20% of those kids choke on candy, according to the CDC.

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Sugar

Afraid a candy binge will make your kids into little monsters? Experts say the link between hyperactivity and sugar just isn’t there. On the other hand, if parents think their kids have had sugar, they will report more hyperactive behavior, even if the child did not actually eat any sugar. The same goes for artificial food coloring and other additives. Look the other way and let the little ones gorge on their loot.

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Food allergies

Wait! What about all the potential allergens lurking in those brightly wrapped treats? Only about 6% of children and 1-2% of adults have a food allergy, and most of those are not the fatal variety. While the cause of food allergies remains a mystery, the Mayo Clinic and other experts place increasing weight on the “hygiene” hypothesis: that keeping potential allergens away from kids certainly doesn’t help, and may make them more susceptible to food allergies. If you know your child has an allergy, of course you need to be vigilant, but if you’ve never had a reaction, count yourself lucky and indulge.

9 Things Not to Be Afraid of This Halloween

Relax – stats show that your kids will be safe.

by Sierra Black

October 29, 2009

400x236.jpg

7

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Dirt

Speaking of the hygiene hypothesis, it’s probably healthy to let your kid eat that piece of candy that fell on the ground. The hygiene hypothesis states that children who are exposed to a wide variety of microorganisms at an early age develop more robust immune systems. Around here, we call the dust that invariably gets into our trail mix Vitamin Fun.

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Satanic cults

Worried that some of those demons and witches prowling the street might be real? While Satanic cults make great TV, they’ve never been shown to exist in real life. If your child does run into a real witch on Halloween, she’s likely to be an earth-loving Wiccan who might trick you into taking home some whole wheat brownies instead of the commercial chocolate.

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The Internet

What Satanic ritual abuse was to my generation, Internet predators are to my kids’ era: the bogeyman in the closet. The Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a Harvard-backed study that included forty-nine state’s attorneys general, found that fears about Internet predation vastly outweigh the reality of this fairly rare crime. Unlike Satanic cults, creeps with computers really do exist. But they’re a danger to be aware of, not lived in fear of. For most kids, the most dangerous person they’ll meet on Facebook is their mom, who might well use the social networking site to find out what they were really up to last Friday night.

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Abduction

Not only do you not have to worry about your child being stolen by Satanists or virtual predators, you don’t have to worry about your child being stolen by any random stranger. How long would you have to leave your children outside unattended to make it statistically likely that they’d be abducted by a stranger? 750,000 years, says Warwick Cairns, author of How to Live Dangerously. Let the kids trick or treat on their own if you feel like it.

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Death

Kids tend to survive. Only about 3% of the deaths in the United States each year are people under twenty-five. While tragedies do occur, it’s worth remembering that kids are resilient, and that the scary things on the news make the news because they’re rare. As safety guru Bruce Schneier says, “I tell people that if it’s in the news, don’t worry about it. The very definition of “news” is “something that hardly ever happens.” It’s when something isn’t in the news, when it’s so common that it’s no longer news — car crashes, domestic violence — that you should start worrying.”

There is one real terror on Halloween to watch out for: cars. Kids are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign in Washington, DC. So tell your kids to look both ways, and then relax – Halloween isn’t nearly as scary as you think.

Article Posted 6 years Ago
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