A child with diabetes can still experience the fun of Halloween, one expert says.
Dr. Steven Mittelman is chief of pediatric endocrinology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. He suggests that parents of a child with type 1 or type 2 diabetes set the same rules for all the children in the house, regardless of diabetes status.
Those rules, he said, should be discussed with children in advance, so they feel they have a hand in establishing a plan.
And that plan, Mittelman added, should put the focus on activities rather than candy. Those can include costuming, decorating and holiday-related arts and crafts.
That said, a little bit of candy may be all right.
"Let your child enjoy some candy, making sure they monitor their blood glucose and take their medications as prescribed," said Mittelman.
"For children who take insulin with all meals and snacks, combining candy with a meal can reduce the need for extra injections, and helps reduce the blood glucose spikes from candy alone," he added.
Mittelman does, however, advocate limiting a diabetic child to one favorite candy. The rest should be tossed, donated or perhaps even "sold" back to the parents by the child in exchange for money, stickers or toys.
Vigilance, he added, is important.
"The candy you don't know your child is eating can be particularly concerning," Mittelman said in a hospital news release. "Make sure you and your child are on the same page with the plan and why it is important."
Some kids will have a tougher time with the Halloween plan than others.
"For children who have a hard time resisting, remove extra candy to a safe location your child can't get to. And consider checking your child's blood glucose an extra time or two during the night, to make sure you can get them back on target," Mittelman said.
The American Diabetes Association has tips on living with a child who has diabetes.
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