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Halloween Safety

Deborah Howell: Welcome to the podcast. I am Deborah Howell, and today we'll be talking about Halloween. Yes. It's a wonderful and fun time of year. However, you know, we all wanna be safe during this time. So today we'll be talking about Halloween Safety tips. Our guest is Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at Memorial Care Medical Group, Fountain Valley Warner. Welcome Dr. Posner.

Dr. Gina Posner: Thank you for having me.

Deborah Howell: Well, Halloween is such a fun time of year for everybody, but of course we have to be cautious. What are some safety tips that you can pass along to help ensure that kids stay safe this Halloween?

Dr. Gina Posner: So I think the most important thing, especially the younger ones, should be with a parent always. And not a huge group with one parent watching multiple children. Because especially with the little ones, it can be a little bit overwhelming for one parent to be watching too many children. I also really like, one of my favorite things are the glow sticks. Or the glow necklaces or anything glowing. flashlights are great just because then they're visible and especially when you're going in the dark. It's really important for children to be visible to cars, to other people, etcetera.

I think those are sort of the biggest things. And then, just making sure also you're holding hands when crossing streets and looking both ways because sometimes cars are going fast down streets and not really aware of the fact that it's Halloween and there are a lot of kids out and about running around.

Deborah Howell: Right. And also maybe going to neighborhoods that you really know?

Dr. Gina Posner: Definitely you wanna go to a neighborhood that, staying local is important. If you're, if you live in a safe neighborhood, obviously. If you live in a neighborhood that you don't find safe, going to a neighborhood that you're familiar with, that is safe, that has sidewalks is really important. Because there are some neighborhoods that don't have sidewalks. And walking on the street is not necessarily the safest.

Deborah Howell: Absolutely. And then is there strength in numbers having kids go together rather than singly?

Dr. Gina Posner: Well, I definitely think kids together is important, but at the same time with parental supervision, obviously when the kids get a little bit older they can go just by themselves. Although I think with a pair, I don't really like kids that are, even older kids going by themselves, just solo.

Deborah Howell: Right. And what should parents teach their children if they're a little bit older before trick or treating?

Dr. Gina Posner: Well, especially making sure that they're going to houses they know and are familiar with going to well lit houses that obviously are meant to have trick or treaters versus going to the dark houses or bothering people that have their lights off. Also same thing, having flashlight, having glow sticks so that they're visible, not darting out in the street. Making sure they're looking both ways before they're crossing any streets. And then if anything makes them scared, stay away from it or find another group of people or find an adult nearby.

Deborah Howell: And some of those costumes you can't even see very well. So maybe have some kind of a plan for that?

Dr. Gina Posner: Yeah, definitely. Like I said I'm a big fan of Glow Sticks. We already bought ours for our kids for this year, and they just, they usually wear like a necklace around or some, a bracelet or something so that they're visible.

Deborah Howell: Okay. Now, I hate to go here, but I need to. There was a recent news story about Fentanyl being found at LAX that was wrapped in Halloween Candy packaging. What can parents look for when inspecting their children's candy before they allow them to eat it?

Dr. Gina Posner: So there are other articles coming out that. Very low risk that Sentinel is gonna be found in any of your Halloween candy. But Sentinel typically appears as pills. So when they were opening these candy boxes, they didn't look like Whoppers. They were clearly pills versus like a big chocolate ball. So you're not gonna see fentanyl disguised as a true looking whopper. Like if you open a Whoppers box and it's filled with tiny little pills, you probably should not be eating it and should be giving that to the police and hopefully you'll remember where you got it from, but the likelihood is pretty slim that you're gonna end up with fentanyl. This was more of a way for them to sneak the fentanyl in versus a way to distribute it at Halloween.

Deborah Howell: And I remember back in the day, you know, apples were kind of a problem because people were inserting things into apples. So maybe just packaging is important, right?

Dr. Gina Posner: Definitely packaging, you want things that are unopened, packages not tampered with. Definitely no homemade kind of stuff. Back in my day people would make these little popcorn balls and give them out and you don't want anything homemade. I know it seems sweet and everything that people are making you stuff but the reality is you really want sealed package.

Deborah Howell: Very good tip. What are some ways that trick or treating loot can be enjoyed in moderation or maybe any tips for parents on how to control the size of all that Halloween loot?

Dr. Gina Posner: So first of all, a lot of dentists actually offer buybacks, so they're dentists that even for their non patients, will do like a dollar per pound of candy that you turn in. So some kids actually enjoyed that. I also recommend kids going through the candy and putting the ones that they really want on one side and the ones that sort of don't really need on another, you can either for parents bringing it to work, which the workers don't need it either, but getting rid of it that way, can be useful. But also just having kids choose like a few things that they really want and limiting to a couple pieces a day and just hiding the rest or putting it high up, and it's used as dessert versus letting them encourage themselves.

Deborah Howell: And we wish parents, Good luck with that. Right.

Dr. Gina Posner: Yeah. Yeah. Good luck. It's, easier said than done, but my kids, we still have Halloween candy left over from last year.

Deborah Howell: So do we in a weird way, so, yeah. All right. Okay, moving on. Covid 19 is still kind of a threat as well as RSV. During this time, can you explain Dr. Posner, RSV and what parents can do to help their children at this time of the year?

Dr. Gina Posner: Yeah, so there are a lot of viruses actually going around, but RSC is making headlines. It typically comes later in the season, more towards like December-ish this year. It's made a resurgence very early. RSV it stands for Respiratory Sensorial Virus. It's a pretty nasty cold bug. It basically gives most people a cold, but with little kids and even some adults, it can really cause trouble breathing, they can end up with a lot of wheezing there because it's a virus, there's no treatment for it. But there is supportive treatments like oxygen. Some kids will respond to albuterol, not all kids.

So if they're having trouble breathing, like really working hard to breathe and looking terrible, you'd wanna bring them in to be seen for RSV, but as far as what they can do to prevent it, washing hands is really important. Not hanging out with sick kids on purpose. You know, trying to keep your kids away from sick kids, although with kids going to school, everyone's spreading it at this point. And masks do work. So, if your child's sick, having them mask, if you're around kids that are sick, having them mask as well.

Deborah Howell: Yeah. Yeah. Speaking of masks, would Halloween masks be effective at protecting against Covid and other airborne diseases?

Dr. Gina Posner: Not typically. So Halloween masks are more made to be breathable and just to be more Just decorative. So you really need a good quality mask. And there are some cloth masks that you can insert filter into that might, you can have decorated as a certain Halloween costume, but and those would work. But other than that, the actual masks that are made for Halloween costumes are really not meant for protecting against any viruses.

Deborah Howell: Yeah. I kind of knew that. I just had to ask just in case there's someone out there who is wondering. And what is the single most important thing that parents can do in the fall to protect their child, not only at Halloween, but in any activity?

Dr. Gina Posner: Well, definitely getting your covid and your flu shots and just keeping your child up to date on all their vaccines.

Deborah Howell: Okay. Get that covid, get that flu shot. Any other flu shot? any other shot that they need?

Dr. Gina Posner: I'm just a big proponent just keeping your child up to date on all vaccines.

Deborah Howell: Okay. And doctor, where can people go for their pediatric or primary care needs?

Dr. Gina Posner: Well, of course I'm a big proponent of Memorial Care.

Deborah Howell: Yes. Okay. And we have an address here, I'll give it one more time. Dr. Posner, it's been wonderful having you on. Thank you so much for all the great tips.

Dr. Gina Posner: No problem. Well, thank you for having me.

Deborah Howell: We really enjoyed having you on the show. Now. For more information or to listen to a podcast of this show, please visit That's That's all. For this time. I'm Deborah Howell. Have yourself a terrific day.

As Halloween approaches, children will be out trick or treating again. There are tips for parents to help ensure their children stay safe and healthy while they are out enjoying the holiday festivities.