Halloween is an exciting time of year for children, complete with fun traditions like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and wearing colorful costumes. These fun festivities, however, can sometimes be dangerous too. This Halloween, Saint Joseph Berea is encouraging families to practice caution and follow a few helpful tips to stay safe.
“There are a number of safety hazards that parents need to consider during Halloween,” said Peter Ko, MD, KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “Families should practice pedestrian safety while trick-or-treating, be aware of food allergies and other hazards when enjoying candy, and take precautions to avoid injuries from pumpkin carving and wearing costumes.”
The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year. In 2017, October ranked second in the number of motor vehicle deaths by month.
Here are a few things parents can do to help ensure children stay safe while trick-or-treating. Place reflective tape on your children’s costumes to help make it easier for drivers to see them. Kids also may enjoy holding flashlights or wearing glow sticks, which serve a dual purpose in making them more visible. Children 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating.
Before candy is eaten, check your child’s Halloween bag for any harmful pieces. Examine each piece to ensure it is wrapped and sealed, and doesn’t appear to be tampered with. For children with food allergies, check the ingredients of all candy they receive. In the United States, 1 in 13 children have a food allergy, and many candies contain common allergens like nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat.
While it can be fun to carve a jack-o-lantern, using a sharp knife is not safe for small children. Pumpkin carving can lead to severe lacerations and hand injuries. Parents can prevent these injuries by providing kid-friendly, alternative decorating options like paints, stickers and markers.
For older children and adults who are able to carve a jack-o-lantern, purchase a pumpkin carving knife made specifically for the task. When carving, always cut away from your body in small, controlled strokes. If younger children want to be involved, offer them the task of removing the pulp with their hands, rather than cutting. Once the jack-o-lantern is finished, consider using a flameless candle inside of it to avoid burns or fires.
Parents should also use caution when selecting Halloween costumes for kids. Ensure that the costume fits properly so it doesn’t drag and cause the child to trip or brush into a lit jack-o-lantern or luminary. When purchasing a costume, always check the tag to ensure it is made using flame-retardant material. Avoid masks, hats and hoods, which can obstruct a child’s vision, and remove your child’s Halloween makeup before they go to bed to help prevent eye and skin irritation.
If you or your child suffers a severe injury this Halloween, seek emergency care. Those suffering from a minor injury should visit a primary care physician for treatment. To find a primary care physician, visit.