Carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating may seem like harmless fun, but Halloween injuries send many children to the emergency room (ER) each year.
Dr. Andrew Bozeman, Pediatric Surgeon at Fairview Park Hospital, shares tips and tricks for keeping your kids safe during this season. “Halloween is a fun time for kids and parents to enjoy the fall weather and traditional outdoor activities, but awareness is key to helping prevent potential ER visits for you and your little ones.”
According to the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, children younger than five and kids between 10 and 14 sustained the greatest proportion of injuries. Lacerations are also common to see in these ER visits during the holiday, specifically on hands and fingers.
In order to prevent potential injuries, Dr. Bozeman shares these safety tips to parents and their children during Halloween:
Make sure children walk on sidewalks.
Remind them not to cut across yards or through their driveways.
Buy or make flame-resist costumes and make sure they fit properly.
Masks, hats or other accessories that are too big can obstruct children's vision. Costumes that are too large can cause kids to trip and fall.
Choose bright colors.
Costumes with noticeable colors will ensure that kids can be seen in the dark. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags as an additional safety measure to make sure children are visible.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Regardless of the costumes children choose, their shoes should be sturdy, comfortable and slip-resistant to prevent falls.
Remind children to avoid houses that are not well-lit.
Children and parents should carry flashlights so they can see properly and others can see them. Teach kids that pointing a flashlight above chest level could block the vision of other trick-or-treaters.
Be wary of pets.
Pets may be threatened when strangers approach their homes.
Bring a cell phone.
If there's an emergency, a cell phone will allow trick-or-treaters to call for help.
Read the ingredients on candy wrappers.
If your child has a known allergy, be sure to pay attention to what is inside Halloween candy before they eat it.
For pumpkin carvers:
Use a pumpkin carving kit, or knives designed for carving.
These tools are less likely to get stuck in a pumpkin while carving.
In the event of a pumpkin carving injury
Elevate the injured body part above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean towel. If bleeding doesn't stop after 15 minutes, or if the cut is very deep, go to the ER.
Pumpkin carving always requires adult supervision.
Rather than using a knife to carve, children can scoop out pumpkin seeds or decorate the pumpkin.
Don't carve a pumpkin if you are under the influence of alcohol or another substance.
“It's all about the enjoyment of Halloween with family and fun. Whether trick-or-treating or simply driving through your neighborhood to get home, being intentional about our safety and the safety of those around us should be top priority,” said Bozeman.