Halloween Safety Tips Offered By Pediatrician Group

As children look forward to “trick-or-treating” later this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is warning parents that tainted candy is only one of the Halloween safety risks that parents should keep in mind on Friday night.

A detailed list of Halloween safety tips have been released by AAP, designed to help ensure families celebrate a safe holiday, focusing on everything from costume designs and safe trick-or-treating practices to reminders about steps that should be taken while carving pumpkins.

While the AAP advises parents to check children’s candy and throw away any that is unwrapped, spoiled or suspicious looking, there have never been any confirmed cases of candy poisoned during Halloween in the United States and that is not the biggest threat to children over the holiday.

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Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, as twice as many people die while walking on or near roadways on Halloween than a typical day.

Children ages 12 to 18 are at the most risk, as children in this age group often trick-or-treat on their own, without parents, and a typically running around neighborhoods or not paying attention to their actions while talking to friends or looking at cell phones.

In addition to tips offered for trick-or-treaters, the AAP indicates that drivers should avoid talking on a cell phone or other distractions while driving to avoid kids who might dart out into traffic without warning. They should also drive with their headlights on during daylight trick-or-treating house to ensure the vehicle is more visible.

The AAP urges parents to accompany young children around neighborhoods, only go to homes with porch lights on, never enter a car for a treat, always go in groups, and if older children are going alone, review the route before they leave.

The pediatricians group also recommends staying on well lit streets, never using alleys, always using sidewalks, never to crossing between cars and carrying a cell phone for use in case of an emergency.

Drunk drivers are also threat to Halloween trick-or-treaters, especially since the holiday has increasingly become more of an event for adults and a major occasion to drink.

Typically 30% of fatal crashes involve drunk drivers, however that number increases to nearly 50% on Halloween night. Twenty percent of all pedestrian deaths on Halloween involve drunk driving. This year could prove to be even more dangerous since Halloween falls on a Friday.

Tips For Costumes and Pumpkin Carving

The AAP report also provides safety tips for children’s Halloween costumes, recommending that they wear bright costumes, use reflective tape, wear well fitting shoes and to be wary of costumes that are too long and pose a risk of tripping and entanglement.

Trips and falls are the next most common Halloween injury; including tripping over costumes or falls while putting up decorations.

The AAP also warns the public to be careful during pumpkin carving, especially with small children. They say small children should never carve pumpkins and recommend having them draw faces on the pumpkins or to have parents do the cutting.

The group also recommends using a glow stick instead of candle to light the pumpkin, but if a candle must be used, they say a votive is the safest.

More than 4,400 people visited the emergency room for Halloween-related injuries in the U.S. last year, with more than half of those injuries involving adults. More than 50% were pumpkin carving injuries.

To avoid injuries use tools designed for job which are smaller and easier to control, not kitchen knives.

Other costume recommendations in the AAP report included avoiding masks that can block eyesight, use flame resistant costumes, wigs and accessories, and avoiding decorative contact lenses that are not prescribed by eye care professionals.

Many decorative contact lenses are advertised as “one size fits all,” indicating the lenses are ready to wear without an eye exam. This can often lead to pain, inflammation and other eye disorders and infections which can lead to vision loss.

Other recommendations for the home include removing things from the lawn that can cause a trick-or-treater to trip, like garden hoses, toys or lawn decorations; checking outdoor lights for burned out bulbs; and restraining any pets so they don’t jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.


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