Kids love Halloween. Pumpkins, spooky decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treating are fun for kids of all ages. Unfortunately, there is a downside to Halloween activities: Children often get hurt.
Wearing masks and costumes, as well as walking in unfamiliar areas in the dark, can lead to trips and falls. Bumps, bruises, and even sprains or fractures can quickly dampen children's spirits.
In addition, pumpkin-carving can result in serious cuts on the hand, as well as injuries to bones and tendons.
Of course, there are many precautions you can take to help make your Halloween injury-free, such as the safety tips provided below.
- Costumes should fit properly. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
- Bright-colored costumes make it easier for children to be seen at dusk or in the dark. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to provide additional visibility.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
- Masks can obstruct a child's vision and should be avoided, along with hats that fall down over a child's eyes. Child-friendly makeup is a good option.
- Look for flame-resistant costumes and accessories.
- Young children should not carve pumpkins. They can get creative with paint, markers or other non-carving decoration kits.
- Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin. Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for older children, may be safe for use with parental supervision.
- Always carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
- If you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, you may need to contact your doctor. Make sure cuts are cleaned and covered with clean bandages.
- Avoid candles in Halloween pumpkins and other decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.
- Children younger than age 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Parents of older children should plan a safe trick-or-treating route together, and set specific times for children to check-in and return home.
- Older children trick-or-treating without parents should be reminded to always stay together.
- Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways.
- Cross streets at designated crosswalks and obey all traffic signals.
- Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
- Approach houses that are well lit. Remind children to never enter a home to obtain a treat.
- Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating. Remember that these pets can pose a threat when you approach their home.
- Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
- Be sure to throw away any unwrapped or spoiled treats.
Reviewed by members of POSNA (Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America)
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
9400 West Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018