Fall Holiday Safety Brought to you by CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (October 2, 2013) — Start the holiday season safely

The shorter, cooler days of autumn mark the beginning of the holiday season, filled with family gatherings, social events, and plenty of good food. It’s a time when parents and children think about costumes and treats, and plan for holiday events at school and elsewhere.

Whether this is your first year as a parent or you’ve celebrated several holiday seasons with your children, CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center would like to offer some tips for keeping your family safe during fall festivities.

Choose costumes wisely

Whether you and your family plan to dress up for trick-or-treating or a church, school or community event, it’s important to make safe costume choices. The Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you choose:

  • Costumes made from fire-retardant materials. Look for “flame resistant” on the label or use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon if you make the costume yourself.
  • Bright, reflective materials. If you’re out after dark, carry a flashlight and make sure your child is easily visible by adding strips of reflective tape to costumes and bags.
  • Well-fitted costumes. Make sure costume length or shoes don’t pose a tripping hazard. Choose costume accessories — such as wands or swords — that are soft and flexible and can’t cause injury.
  • Makeup and hats rather than masks, which can impair breathing and vision. Only use products that are intended for skin — and check to make sure makeup ingredients are FDA approved — and follow package directions and warnings carefully. Apply a small amount of the makeup on your child’s arm a few days before the event to make sure he or she isn’t allergic to ingredients. If a rash, swelling or other signs of irritation occur, that can signal an allergy.

If you and your family are throwing a party or going trick-or-treating, the health care professionals at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center suggest the following tips for enjoying holiday celebrations:

  • Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and cheeses. If you serve juice or cider, make sure it’s pasteurized or treated to remove harmful bacteria.
  • Bobbing for apples is a great way to introduce healthy eating into an otherwise candy-driven time of year. Make sure you rinse apples under running water to remove bacteria, and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt as an added precaution.
  • Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • If you go trick-or-treating, make sure your child doesn’t go on an empty stomach. Give him or her a snack or light meal beforehand so there’s no temptation to eat candy before you’ve had a chance to inspect it for safety. Any commercially wrapped treats should be free of packaging tears or pinholes, and check candy for other signs of tampering such as discoloration or unusual appearance.

The crisp air and changing colors make fall a wonderful time of year for fun and festivities. By taking a few simple precautions, you can kick off the holiday season safely.

About CuddleBugs

CuddleBugs is a free program designed to provide answers to new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery – including guidance for newborn care. For more information about CuddleBugs, visit www.CuddleBugsBaby.com.

Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.

Planning a party? Practice good food-safety habits.

To ensure the food at your next holiday gathering is safe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following steps as part of the Be Food Safe Campaign:

  • Clean your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces before and after contact with raw meat and poultry products.
  • Separate raw meat, poultry and eggs from food that will not be cooked.
  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature by using a food thermometer.
  • Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and refrigerate at 40 F or below.

For more food storing, handling and cooking guidelines, visit www.usda.gov.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/family/halloween

U.S. Food and Drug Administrationwww.fda.gov

U.S. Department of Agriculture – www.fsis.usda.gov

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services.