(WVLT) -- One in 13 U.S. children have food allergies. That's why Local 8 News talked to actress Holly Robinson Peete about how to stay safe this Halloween as your kids go trick-or-treating with candy that could threaten their life. Peete is not just an actress, but also a mother of children with food allergies. "I have children with food allergies and especially around halloween we've got to be extra vigilant about these treats that they get and we are a big Halloween family. Like every family, our kids love to trick-or-treat and I have seen the potentially life threatening situations that could happen first-hand if they ingest certain allergens so it's very imporant to be real vigilant this Halloween," says Peete.
As Halloween approaches, parents of children with food allergies must be adequately prepared in case a serious allergic reaction occurs. While parents of children with food allergies should be vigilant of what their children eat, there are still potential serious risks at Halloween that require preparation. Peete says, "Think about it. Our kids have peanut allergies and peanuts are in most candies in so many of them. But also dairy allergies, and there are others so it's just important that you know, as a parent, if you're trick-or-treating with your child, knowing exactly what your kid is allergic to and make sure you completely eliminate the risk of anaphylaxis and that you carry an Epipen auto injector with you just in case. We carry two in the Peete house. We have to play it safe but Halloween is an especially difficult time for this type of situation." Many treats contain ingredients that are some of the most common foods to cause a serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.
Kids often move quickly from house to house while trick-or-treating and can inadvertently come in contact with unsafe foods before their parents have a chance to check the ingredients. Potentially unsafe treats could be served at a classroom Halloween party while the parents are not present. "If you send your child to a friend's party I would definitely suggest like i do, that you make sure that whoever the adult is there understands the food allergy your child has because communication is key. I would never send them without an Epipen auto injector. I would make sure that they had that with them at all times, and I would make sure that the responsible adult knows exactly how to administer that. It's just very imporant that especially around a holiday like Halloween to make sure that everyone is on the same page because we don't want any situations that are potentially life threatening," warns Peete.
Many treats contain ingredients that are some of the most common foods to cause a serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.
Instead of skipping trick-or-treating and classroom parties altogether, parents of children with food allergies should be prepared so that the child can enjoy an allergy-friendly Halloween. You can also skip the events that involve candy. Peete suggests, "You can go to a local pumpkin patch. You can go to a local amusement park. Everyone has Halloween carnivals and haunted houses and things like that so there are a lot of fun things you can do that are family oriented around Halloween without actually going out in the dark or trick-or-treating. Trick or treating in the dark is one of the issues because sometimes kids will sneak, take a peek, take a little bite of a candy and if they don't know the ingredients, we have a situation."
For more information on controlling food allergies, check out epipen.com