Halloween is the time of year for spooky costumes, tricks and plenty of treats! While this holiday offers lots of make-believe fun, there are real-life safety risks to be aware of. According to a recent study that examined holiday-related pediatric emergency room, Halloween is among the top three holidays producing the most emergency room visits. The single most common Halloween injury was finger/hand injuries, with the majority of those being cuts and broken bones. In addition, children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year.
Now for the good news: Many of these Halloween-related accidents are preventable, especially when parents put extra care into planning and supervision. Talk with your children about the safety concerns unique to this holiday, and review the following safety tips with them.
Pick a safe costume. While costumes ideally should be made of a light-colored material, no matter the color, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends adding reflective tape for an extra measure of safety.
- Costumes, masks and shoes should fit snug to avoid a Costumes, masks and shoes should fit snug to avoid vision impairment or a trip and fall accident.
- Costume accessories, including plastic swords, knives, etc. should be kept short, soft flexible and non-flammable.
- Never walk near lit candles or jack-o-lanterns that can cause your costume to catch on fire. Make sure your child’s costume is flame-resistant.
Supervise young children. It is a general rule that children under the age of 12 should never trick-or-treat without adult supervision. Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise their children during trick-or-treat activities. When going door-to-door, stay close to your children at all times and carry a flashlight. To make the holiday even safer remove street traffic from the equation entirely and consider taking your children to a local mall or community center for an indoor event.
Prepare your children before heading out. Remember that there is safety in numbers. If you have older kids, make sure they travel in a group on Halloween and only go to houses that are well-lit. Plan and review the area where they plan to trick-or-treat. Have them take a cell phone in case of an emergency. Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Instruct them to always walk on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks while using traffic signals to get across the street safely. Finally, establish a curfew for older children and hold them to it.
Drive carefully. Halloween safety does not just apply to trick-or-treaters; motorists must use caution as well. Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., so drivers need to be especially cautious during this time. Eliminate any distractions and concentrate entirely on the road and your surroundings. Be especially careful when exiting driveways and alleyways and always be on the lookout for kids darting out from between cars. Most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections, according to the National Safety Council.
Don’t forget about your home. With all of the excitement of costumes, pumpkin carving and putting out decorations, it can be easy to forget about the children who will be traipsing through your yard on Halloween. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests clearing the porch and front yard of anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and decorations. Also, make sure all walking areas are well lit and that jack-o’-lanterns are placed away from stairways and landings. It’s equally important to check any decoration lights for safety and be sure not to overload extension cords.
Check your child’s treat bag. At the end of the evening, examine your child’s candy for any choking hazards and any sweets that may have been tampered with. Discard any “homemade treats” your child may have received from strangers or any other suspicious candies. Limit the amount of sweet treats they eat.
- Halloween safety: Tips for trick-or-treaters From Mayo Clinic
- Halloween Health and Safety Tips From The CDC
- Halloween Safety Tips From Safe Kids Worldwide
- Halloween Safety Tips 2016 From The American Academy of Pediatrics
- 5 tricks to scaring up a safe Halloween From News Channel 21
More Questions About Halloween Safety?
At the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, we want you to have a safe and Happy Halloween! If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our experienced team of Orlando personal injury attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Please feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website or call us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case at 407-422-4529.