It may surprise you to learn that Halloween is among the top holidays each year that generates visits by children to the emergency room. Finger/Hand injuries are the most common body parts requiring medical attention, with lacerations or cuts being the majority (followed by fractures). It’s the kids aged 10 -14 who are most often admitted for Halloween injuries so we’ve prepared these tips for kids in that age group.
Here’s our Top 5 Safety Tips for a safe Halloween in 2017:
Carve cautiously with care
Pumpkin Carving can be a fun activity but can be dangerous, and requires some planning and preparation ahead of time. First, young children shouldn’t actively carve the pumpkins – but you can involve them in removing the seeds (many kids enjoy removing the squishy innards), and using a marker to draw out their designs. Pumpkin carving knives/kits are highly recommended as they are less likely than a kitchen knife to get stuck in the skin, which can lead to finger lacerations.
If you happen to accidentally cut your finger or hand with a carver, elevate the hand above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 10-15 minutes, or if the cut is deep, contact your nearest emergency medical facility immediately.
Pick a costume you can travel with
Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. Masks may obscure vision as may hats, so take proper precautions with fitting them properly or consider using make-up instead. Capes can easily get trapped underfoot so ensure they are properly trimmed/hemmed as needed.
Costumes can be dangerous if not fitted properly. Your child could slip and fall, causing broken bones, sprains, fractures or worse. So once the costume is on your child take a second look to make sure there are no tripping hazards.
Remind your children about road safety
It can be tempting for children to cut across the street – after all, there’s candy on the other side. So, it’s important to have a quick safety brush-up session with your children and remind them that while movie ghosts can’t be harmed by cars, that doesn’t apply to real life so obey traffic signals and look and listen for traffic.
Be mindful of pets
Dogs in homes visited by trick or treaters may not be friendly or used to the constant stream of visitors and may become agitated. Children should be reminded to never pet a dog without first seeking the owner’s permission, and that small fingers can look like treats to a dog.
Don’t go into a stranger’s home, without an adult you trust
Children should never step into a stranger’s home unless a trusted adult is with them. Remind children that there’s no need to leave the front porch/stoop and that they should just wait there if the adult there needs to get more candy from the kitchen.
And a bonus tip: While there’s been little evidence that suggests candy tampering is common, it’s still prudent for parents to probe candy that’s been collected and ensure it hasn’t been tampered with or opened beforehand.
All of us Coastal Orthopedics want you to have a wonderful time this season. Halloween is tremendous fun for adults and children, and a fall rite of passage for many. By following some simple safety rules and advice you can help keep visiting the emergency room off the to-do list on October 31st.
Source: D’Ippolito A, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of pediatric holiday-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments. Pediatrics. 2010 May; 125 (5):931-7.