Stay Safe this Halloween
Goblins and ghouls are not the only threats on Halloween. In 2017, 65 children with Halloween-related injuries were treated at the UF Health Pediatric Emergency Room, and five children were admitted into the UF Health Shands Trauma Center’s intensive care unit. Carolyn Holland, M.D., the pediatric emergency department’s assistant medical director, shares some common safety tips to make sure your child stays safe this Halloween.
“You want Halloween to be fun and exciting,” Holland said. “But you don’t want to have to visit us in the emergency department.”
Follow traffic laws, be aware of traffic
Statistics show that twice as many children die on Halloween from being hit by cars than on any other night of the year. Car accidents can be avoided with a number of precautions, including adult supervision, following the traffic laws, costume adjustments, and trick-or-treating in groups and traffic-controlled areas.
- Adult supervision - Adult supervision is important to ensure children follow traffic laws. Adults should make sure children stay on the sidewalks and use crosswalks when crossing the street. They should also watch for any distracted drivers or vehicles moving out of driveways. Children over 12 years old should trick-or-treat in groups to facilitate a buddy system if there is no adult present.
- Costume adjustments - When trick-or-treating at dusk, it’s important to make sure children’s costumes are visible and do not inhibit their abilities to see cars or other threats. Instead of wearing hats, masks and other accessories that may block peripheral vision, opt for makeup or face paint. Reflective tape, flashlights and glow sticks also help to ensure children can be seen by drivers. Swords, knives and smaller costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
- Traffic-controlled trick-or-treating - Areas that are expecting trick-or-treaters are optimal for children’s safety. There are a few neighborhoods in Gainesville that are really popular for trick-or-treating, and those neighborhoods often provide controlled traffic on Halloween.
Many children suffer allergic reactions from candies and costume materials. Allergic reactions can be avoided by reading the labels of candies, makeup products and face paints used to complete your child’s costume. Always test the makeup in a small area first, and remove it before bedtime to prevent irritation. Lower the risk of serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. Only eat factory-wrapped treats, and examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering.
Take caution for avoidable injuries
Injuries from pumpkin carving and falls during trick-or-treating are also common around Halloween. Children should avoid running from house-to-house and be cautious of tripping on their costumes or other hindrances.