Kids Have Food Allergies?? Put This in YOUR Trick-or-Treat Bag

From the time we are first taken out trick-or-treating as kids we are told about the dangers of Halloween. Look out for cars, take a flashlight, stay together and as kids we hear nothing and think about having fun and eating candy. As a parent though, there are a whole host of new things to worry about. Now instead of being the ones taking the advice, we are the ones giving it. Are the costumes on right? Does the flashlight work? Is it a school night? Don’t eat the candy until we get home Etc.., It’s this last one that I would like to focus on for all the parents out there… but for other reasons than we all have been taught.

Don’t eat any candy until we get home. I remember hearing this my whole life and when I asked why? I was told that there were bad people out there that poison candy and put things in the candy to hurt people. Naturally I was scared and of course I did not listen and was lucky that nothing ever happened to me, but thinking as an Emergency Responder and a parent, I now have a new reason to give people and kids in particular the same advice. The reason I have is this: Allergic Reactions.

When you think of kids eating candy on Halloween it seems harmless, kids running from house to house and munching on candy bars and sour candies while they do it and you as the good prepared parent are following in tow making sure everything is going well and that you have brought everything you need. But have you brought everything you need? If you are one of the millions of parents out there that has a child who suffers from allergies or if you yourself suffer from allergies then we need to add some things to the take along list.

Does your child suffer from asthma and need an inhaler? Or does your child have violent ”anaphylactic” reactions and is prescribed an Epi Pen? If the answer is yes to either of these questions then my question to you is where is the inhaler or the Epi pen? When I pose this question in all the classes I teach the answer is very rarely the right one. The answer is usually that the inhaler or the Epi pen is at home or in the car or I don’t know where but my spouse does. These types of answers are unacceptable and have an easy solution. Bring them with you.

If your child has an inhaler and needs it while out trick or treating because they are having trouble breathing you now either have to leave them there and go get the inhaler or race them back home to get it which will add to the difficulty breathing and make the situation worse. What if your child who is allergic to something in the candy such as nuts or oils starts to have the very reaction the Epi pen was prescribed for? Having it at home does nobody any good at this particular time and we wind up in the same situation of either leaving them there or racing them back home. Neither of these scenarios is pleasant to think about but both can be avoided with the easy solution of adding them to your take along items on Halloween.

Remember Epi pens and inhalers provide instant relief and were prescribed for that purpose so keeping them close by at all times is a must.

And if you are ever put in a spot to use these devices, I ask that you NOT be afraid to call 911 right away, just in case things don’t work as they are supposed to. As the saying goes …Better to have the help and not need it than need it and not have it.

I wish you all a Safe and Happy Halloween


About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


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