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Celebrate Halloween, Not the Treats

Ah, Halloween. The feel of the crisp October breeze in the late afternoon and the sounds and sights of giggly costumed kids abound!

Kids in spooky werewolf costumes, lovely princess outfits, superhero get ups that transform a 3-foot child into a mini muscle man, and of course pets dressed up as devil dogs, hot dogs or angels. Halloween is a fun day filled with laughter, surprises, tricks, and… treats.

What to do with the treats? I hear so many parents complain about what to do with the treats after Halloween. Kids want to eat the treats while parents want to curb the consumption of treats, and in some cases parents cannot resist eating the treats as well. Here are a few suggestions to having a guilt-free Halloween.

  1. Establish rules before Halloween. In my household, we have a jar designated for candy and treats. We keep only what fits in that jar, and the rest gets thrown away or given away. This has caused my child to be very judicious about what treats she wants to keep. Banished are the lollipops, spicy candies, gummy bears and gum. In the jar go the chocolates and the occasional chewy candies. My daughter has figured out that she values the chocolate treats much more than the other candy, so those make up the bulk of what is in the jar. This process allows her to be in control and make her own decisions. As such, there are no temper tantrums or angry feelings. Your family could establish something similar or have other pre-established guidelines such as “no gum” or “no sticky candy.” These have to be developed before Halloween season so it does not come as a surprise to anyone.
  1. Contact your dentist’s office. Many dental clinics will “buy back” unopened Halloween treats. Some dental clinics will offer a nominal payment per pound of treats for registered patients ($1 a pound for a $5 maximum, for example). Other dental clinics accept donated treats during a specified time period around Halloween. Contact your dental clinic to find out if they participate in a similar program. Continue Reading »

Bundle up, winter is on its way

Cold season has arrived, the leaves are turning golden and winter is around the corner. Children are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults, so they can quickly develop a dangerously low body temperature (hypothermic). Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water.

Newborn infants are prone to hypothermia because of their large body surface area, small amount of subcutaneous fat and decreased ability to shiver. Children and adults respond to cold extremes by shivering, developing goose bumps and experiencing lethargy and a slow heart rate. Eventually the shivering ends and disorientation and lack of responsiveness occur. Severe hypothermia can also result in arrhythmia, an abnormal beating of the heart.

If you suspect a child has developed hypothermia, get him or her into room or shelter, remove wet clothing and warm the body. Warm beverages can also help increase the body temperature. After the temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck, and get medical attention as soon as possible. Continue Reading »

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