9 Things Not to Be Afraid of This Halloween
Relax – stats show that your kids will be safe.
by Sierra Black
October 29, 2009
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 . . .
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
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.
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.
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.