Halloween is fast approaching. This year, it is estimated that 41 million American children will participate in Halloween trick-or treat celebrations. Unfortunately, these ever increasing numbers also mirror a rise in injuries. Halloween should be be a night filled with fun costumes, candy and laughter; but sadly, thousands of American children will experience personal injury and trauma instead.
We all know that accidents may happen anytime, but Halloween brings a higher risk of unnecessary injury for our children. Here are examples of the most common injuries and accidents that happen on Halloween.
The risk of a child being hit by a motor vehicle more than doubles on Halloween. Parents should accompany their children on Halloween night, and, if possible, stay in well lit areas. As difficult as it may be to supervise excited trick-or-treaters, parents should ensure that everyone obeys all traffic signals, sticks to the sidewalks and only crosses on street corners. One may also improve visibility by adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, and carry flashlights. Please remember that on average, more children are hit and killed by automobiles on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that burns resulting from flammable costumes are one of the most common reasons children visit the hospital on Halloween. Purchase costumes, wigs and accessories that are flame resistant. Steer clear of those Jack-O’-Lanterns and other items that are fire-lit in order to reduce the risk of flame related injuries. Even though this may seem a bit extreme, it may also be a good idea to review “Stop, Drop and Roll” with your trick-or-treaters in the event that a child’s clothing should accidentally catch on fire.
Costume Related Injuries
Children love to dress in costumes that are long and flowing. Unfortunately, these kinds of costumes can cause your child to trip and fall. More often than not, these costumes may also include masks that make it difficult for children to see and increase your child’s risk of sustaining a trip and fall injury. Eye injuries are also one of the most common pediatric traumas seen in emergency rooms all across America on Halloween. Many Halloween costumes include props that have sharp edges or pointy ends. These objects may increase your child’s risk of serious eye injury. Choose costume accessories that are soft and pliable to minimize the risk of injury should a child trip and fall. No one wants to have a child injured by their own pirate sword or fairy wand.
The bottom line, is that the last thing any parent wants is to spend Halloween in an emergency with an injured child. The good news however is that, with proper planning and parental vigilance, most Halloween related injuries can be avoided.
*Estimated number of trick-or-treaters statistic was found on US Census Bureau website.
*Safe Kids Worldwide website reported that the risk of a child pedestrian being struck by a car doubles on Halloween.