Parents of young children were raised on Sesame Street and they likely remember the song, “One of these things is not like the other.” Here are 4 items…play it with me: popcorn, latex balloons, infants and mini-pompoms. You likely chose Infants, for you could see that the other three items are chokeable items. Infants and chokeable objects should never be grouped together.
Yet, this is what The Today Show did this week when Abby Larson demonstrated 3 Crazy Cute DIY Halloween Costumes that were modeled by infants and young toddlers: A Bag of Popcorn (an infant wearing a white beanie with popcorn glued to the hat, a Gumball Machine (1 inch compressible pompoms glued to a beanie hat), and a Bubble Bath (dozens of semi-clear small latex balloons attached to a wagon with a baby sitting in the middle).
Balloons cause more childhood deaths than any other toy. Popcorn was one of the chokeable foods that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned about in 2010, with their statement Non-fatal Choking on Food in Children…in the US, 2001-2009. And soft mini-pompoms that are glued to a head piece? Moms just know…. that's a disaster waiting to happen when the infant pulls off the colorful small ball and puts it into his mouth as they travel between houses. And while we’re on the subject, the aforementioned AAP document warns against hard candy for kids this Halloween.
The Today Show appears to have chosen cute over safe. They seem to not understand that some parents are harried and hassled, creating a costume on the day of Halloween without giving the glue enough time to dry. The parents are scurrying to get their children out the door to trick or treat as darkness begins to fall. This is risky.
Please keep your children safe this Halloween. Wear reflective gear, walk in groups, take a flashlight and wear costumes with safe fabrics that won’t catch fire when your child gets too close to your neighbor’s jack-o-lantern. DIY costumes should not contain chokeable objects or food that is glued to fabric. Now have a safe and scary good time!
Dr Dan Feiten is a practicing pediatrician at Greenwood Pediatrics in south metro Denver. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communication and Media (COCM) and the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM). He volunteers his time as the Medical Director of the pediatric web design firm, Pediatric Web and RemedyConnect.
Balloon Danger Consumer Product Safety Commission
Non-fatal Choking on Food in Children…in the US, 2001-2009.
Halloween Safety https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/