Halloween safety

Halloween is an ancient tradition, dating back almost 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, or the “darker half” of the year. Today, Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, and it often conjures up wonderful memories for both adults and children. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Halloween is also one of the four most likely days of the year that children will need to visit the emergency room.

The US Census Bureau estimates that 41 million children, ages 5–14, participate in the annual tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween. The sheer number of participants of all ages contribute to the increased incidence of accidents and injuries. According to the 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, 5,978 pedestrian fatalities were reported last year, making it the highest number of fatalities reported in the USA since 1990.

Halloween is a night that is full of sweet treats and a lot of fun, so we here at HealthTap, are dedicated to ensuring everyone celebrates a safe Halloween, and avoids a scary trip to the hospital!

Here are the most common reasons why children visit the emergency room during Halloween, and important safety tips on how to avoid the trip:

  1. Pedestrian collisions
  • Young children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult
  • Increase visibility by using flashlights and reflective tape on bags and costumes
  • Only walk on sidewalks and established crosswalks whenever possible
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • It’s important not to block your child’s vision. If possible, choose hats and nontoxic makeup rather than masks
  • Make sure that masks, costumes, and shoes fit well to avoid blocked vision, trips, and fall

2. Eye injury

  • Keep costume accessories such as swords, short, soft, and flexible
  • If using eye makeup, always test it in a small area first. Remove makeup before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation or allergic reactions
  • Be careful when wearing decorative contact lenses as they can cause serious eye injuries 

3. Burns

  • Make sure costumes, wigs and accessories are made of flame-resistant materials
  • Don’t walk near lit candles or luminaries
  • Use a glow stick instead of a candle in jack-o’-lanterns
  • Never leave candlelit jack-o’-lanterns or candles unattended

4. Stomach upset

  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them
  • Make sure your child eats only factory-wrapped candy
  • Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers
  • Damaged or opened packages of candy should indeed be thrown away
  • It is important to limit the amount of treats you eat

Halloween is a fun night of celebration for the whole family. Keep these safety tips in mind for the healthiest and happiest Halloween possible! If you have any concerns or questions, please connect with a HealthTap doctor– they’re available for you 24/7.

Author: Simitha Singh Rambiritch

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