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H1N1 & Halloween: How to Keep Kids Safe

Halloween means lots of kids and lots of germs, which could be a recipe for spreading the H1N1 virus.

Special Report: H1N1 Virus

CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton offered some tips for keeping Halloween healthy this year on "The Early Show."

Ashton said parents and trick-or-treaters should take extra care this year with the candy bowl. She said germs can live for up to 48 hours on a surface and even longer if the surface is wet, so it's important to avoid reaching into the bowl for candy. She said a great alternative is a scoop.

"I know it's a little sterile, but it's probably a better idea," she said.

Another way germs spread is through sharing masks.

Ashton said it's important kids keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs away. Also, she said if you're child plans to wear a mask, he or she should avoid sharing the mask with others because germs can easily be transported from one child to another. Also, bobbing for apples is definitely something to avoid, Ashton said, if you're concerned about getting infected.

Ashton also encouraged keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand for regular use.

Aside from H1N1, Ashton recommended reflectors for your child's Halloween treat bag or on the child's costume. She added you should also make sure your child's costume doesn't trail on the ground to avoid tripping as they trick-or-treat around the neighborhood.

For more on Halloween safety, click here to go to the American Red Cross Halloween Safety Tips page.
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