Halloween is known as a kid-favorite holiday, full of spooky fun and lots of candy. However, it can also present many opportunities for injury, as children take to the streets in pursuit of trick-or-treating goodies. The Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital is urging families to stay safe this holiday.
"Pedestrian injuries are the most common type of Halloween injury," said Dina Morrissey, M.D., M.P.H., program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital. "There are four to five times more pedestrian fatalities on Halloween versus the average for the rest of the year."
Other common Halloween injuries are trips and falls from costumes that are too big or obstruct sight; burns from highly-flammable costumes; and cuts while carving pumpkins. Morrissey advises that parental supervision can help to avoid all of these types of injuries.
The Injury Prevention Center offers the following tips for Halloween safety:
When selecting a costume for children:
- Make sure the costume fits properly - not too long that the child could trip.
- Try to avoid masks because they can obstruct a child's view. Consider face paint instead.
- Bright colors will make children more visible.
- Use reflective tape or other reflective devices to make children more visible.
While out trick-or-treating:
- Young children should always have adult supervision.
- Parents should plan out the trick-or-treating route - best to stay on well lit roads with sidewalks.
- Bring a flashlight and cell phone with you.
- Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
- Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
- Remind children to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
- Tampering with candy is very rare; however, it is a good idea to inspect candy before letting children dig in. Throw out anything that is not wrapped or that looks suspicious.
When carving pumpkins:
- Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.
- Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin, then let an adult do the cutting.
- Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave lit pumpkins unattended.
"Halloween safety is the responsibility of everyone, not just the parents taking children trick-or-treating," added Morrissey. "Anyone driving on Halloween needs to remember to drive slowly, be vigilant and use lights and turn signals at all times."