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Halloween Safety 101

ANNALISA NEGREA, RN

Halloween is a great time to watch scary movies and tell ghost stories, but you want to make sure your kids stay safe while having fun. According to the National Safety Council, there are an estimated 3,800 injuries related to Halloween activities each year. From the costumes and the candy to the pumpkin carving, it is important to follow simple safety tips to avoid a trip to the doctor or the emergency department.

BE ALERT

— Walk, don’t run – Your child may be anxious to collect a lot of candy, but safety should come first. Running makes it easier for them to trip and fall, especially after dark.

–Bring extra lighting – Use glow sticks to increase your child’s visibility and carry a flashlight to light the sidewalk to decrease the chance of falling.

–Watch for traffic – Use designated cross walks and look both ways before crossing the street. Stay on the sidewalk as you walk through the neighborhood.

–Parents should tag along – If you have children under 12, accompany them around the neighborhood. They may be fine riding their bike during the day alone, but the streets will be more crowded, and your child may be too excited to watch his/her surroundings.

–Watch for dogs and other pets – Dogs can easily frighten with the costumes, lights, and loud children. Be alert and careful around neighborhood animals, they may bite when anxious or nervous.

SPOOKY, BUT SAFE

COSTUMES

— Make yourself visible – Costumes should be bright and have reflective tape on them. If the weather is cold and you wear a coat over the costume, add reflective tape to the coat.

— Costumes should be soft and flexible – Costume accessories made of hard plastic or metal could cause injury to yourself or others.

— Test decorative makeup – Makeup can cause skin and eye irritation. Test a small area before applying makeup and wash all makeup off before going to bed.

— Keep your eyes clear – If you wear a mask, make sure it fits properly so you can see clearly.

— Don’t wear decorative contacts – Wearing decorative contact lenses without a prescription can cause inflammation, and serious eye infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.

TRICK OF TREATS

–Inspect the candy – Make sure candy is in the original wrapper and hasn’t been modified. Anything that’s not sealed, has torn packaging, or looks questionable should be thrown away.

— Look for possible hazards – If anyone in your family has allergies, be sure to throw that candy away. Also, be mindful of choking hazards when sorting the candy.

–Ration the haul – When you examine the candy, make it a game. Have them count the types of candy they collected and how many days the candy can last if they only ate three a day.

–Don’t snack as you walk – All candy needs to be inspected before you eat it. Don’t be tempted to try the candy as you walk down the street.

CAREFUL

CARVING

–Use carving kits – Kits that are sold in stores that use hard plastic tools are less likely to cause a major injury. Avoid using sharp household knives.

–Try paint – Painting the pumpkins rather than carving means you avoid the mess that comes with carving and the possibility of a cut from a knife.

–Use lights – Candles in a pumpkin can be dangerous, especially as trick-or-treaters walk by with long costumes that could catch the flame.

If your child has anxiety about the holiday or has sensory issues, you may consider a small party with close friends and neighbors, or a local trunk-or-treat event. Check local schools, community centers, or businesses for other options.

If you’ll be driving, watch for children on the side of the road or crossing the street. There may be piles of leaves between the sidewalk and the road that make children more difficult to spot in the dark. Most importantly, stay off your phone when driving. Any distractions can cause you to lose focus and lose control of your car. By following these tips, we can ensure everyone’s safety this Halloween.

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Annalisa Negrea, RN, BSN, CEN, is an injury prevention coordinator for UMPC Susquehanna.

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