It's October and some might already be digging into Halloween candy. For children with food allergies though, these desserts can be very scary.
Fun-size candies may look the same on the outside like their larger counterparts, but on the inside their ingredients can actually be different. It really depends on where the candies were manufactured. Some companies will put a disclaimer on the packaging.
"In the smaller packages, there isn't room to put all the disclaimers and very often they don't list all of the ingredients in the candies. For safety sake it's best probably not to have consumption of candies in small packages," said Dr. Martin Hurtwitz, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at MSU.
Here are a few things parents of children with allergies should know:
- small children with allergies should never be left alone without parental supervision.
- children with allergies should know to say 'no thank you' to homemade desserts.
- children should have their auto-injectable epinephrine with them.
- plan fun food-free activities such as costume contests, games, and pumpkin carving.
Dr. Hurwitz said many children who have food allergies have other allergies as well such as skin allergies or asthma so it's best for them not to use makeup or face paint. A hat would also be more appropriate than a mask.
An alternative to putting out candy this Halloween is the Teal Pumpkin Project. Homeowners can put a teal pumpkin on their doorstep and it means they have non-food treats available like glow sticks or small toys.
For more information, visit www.foodallergy.org and search, Teal Pumpkin Project.