Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips
Trick-or-treat safety is essential for a fun Halloween. We at Puget Sound Orthopaedics love Halloween (especially Dr. Matthew Jenkins, our resident Halloween super-fan). Unfortunately, Halloween can also be the cause of frightening injuries if precautions aren’t taken.
According to a nine-year study by the journal Pediatrics, finger and hand injuries on Halloween account for a high number of emergency room visits. This comes mostly from knife injuries from jack-o-lantern carving which are dangerous to children and adults alike. Doctors see more injuries to hand nerves, bones, tendons and arteries on Halloween due to inappropriate and careless knife use. Adults should use sharp knives and small children should either use plastic pumpkin-carving knives or simply draw on pumpkins.
What may come as a surprise is that the top safety hazards on Halloween are pedestrian-type injuries. More harm comes to ankles, legs, elbows and wrists from trick-or-treaters who accidentally fall from tripping over costume hems, curbs, steps and decorations. And, because so many trick-or-treaters go out at night, it’s hard for kids, parents and drivers to see, so more serious orthopedic injuries can occur.
So, to help keep your little ghosts, witches and superheroes safe this year, we’d like to share a few trick-or-treat safety tips tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to make your holiday less scary.
Have a Safe Holiday on the Trick-or-Treat Trail
Ensure everyone comes home safe and sound on Halloween by taking these simple precautions when trick-or-treating.
- If your kids are under 12, a parent or responsible adult should always accompany trick-or-treaters on their neighborhood rounds. Make sure your older children go out in a group and not alone. Agree on their proposed route and set a curfew for when you expect them home.
- Remain on well-lit streets and carry flashlights.
- Stay safe and walk on the sidewalk. If you must walk in the road, walk facing traffic along the outside edge.
- Cross the street at crosswalks, in plain sight and as a group if possible. It’s hard for motorists to see trick-or-treaters. Don’t cross between parked cars or from driveways.
- Keep a cellphone handy and make sure your children know how to call 9-1-1.
Halloween Costume Safety
It’s a joy to see little ones dressed up, but it’s important to make sure your kids can both see and be seen.
- Comfortable costumes with a proper fit are key. Remember, the most important thing is to prevent trips and falls, so make sure costumes don’t drag. And don’t let your little one wear mom’s high heels.
- Make sure costumes are bright and reflective. If needed, apply reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Don’t cover little faces with masks. Consider non-toxic makeup instead. And hats and wigs should be secured in place so they don’t slip.
- Ensure all costumes and accessories are flame resistant.
- Don’t let anyone wear decorative contact lenses. They’re both illegal and dangerous. They can cause inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections.
- Sharp points like a sword or knife are a hazard to a falling child and those around them. Go for a soft, flexible option instead.
Prevent Illness with These Halloween Candy Basics
After trick-or-treating is done, follow these guidelines to keep your kids from eating anything unsafe.
- Always examine all your children’s treats when they get home. Although food tampering is rare, throw away any candy that is spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious looking.
- Encourage kids to ration their treats to last longer. Or help younger children by doling out treats over time.
- For those with food allergies, exercise extra caution with Halloween candy. Read labels carefully, since some “fun size” candies have different ingredients than regular sized.
- Teach your child to eat safely. Instruct them how to politely turn down home-baked items such as cupcakes and brownies. And, tell them to never taste or share another child’s food.