Common Halloween Accidents
This Halloween, the CDC is recommending folks take some extra precautions while enjoying the season. For some families, this will mean holding off on trick-or-treating until next year, instead organizing spooky outdoor movie nights, pumpkin carving contests or costume parades. For others, trick-or-treating will be scaled back, with individually bagged treats, social distancing and masks for everyone over 2.
But even though Halloween will look different this year, the same safety precautions hold up. What are some of the most common accidents associated with Halloween, and what are the best ways to avoid them?
Pedestrian injuries. It’s a sobering statistic for what should be a fun night, but kids are twice as likely to be killed by a car strike on Halloween than on any other other night of year, according to Safe Kids. Visibility is poor. Kids don’t always behave in predictable ways. And both drivers and trick-or-treaters may be distracted. To be seen and stay safe:
- Cross at corners, signals or crosswalks
- Use sidewalks whenever possible
- Choose bright costumes and add reflective elements or glow sticks
- Accompany young kids and agree on a planned route for older kids going in groups
If you’re driving on Halloween night, keep an eye out for kids, even if the area doesn’t seem busy. Turn on your headlights early in the evening. And put your phone down—a recommendation that’s also true for trick-or-treaters and their grownups.
Carving accidents. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 4,500 Halloween-related injuries required emergency room care in weeks surrounding the 2018 holiday. Of these, 44 percent were related to pumpkin carving.
If the kids are involved in creating this year’s jack-o’lantern, they can help scoop out the seeds from inside or design the face with a marker. But an adult should be the only one to carve into the gourd, ideally using special pumpkin carving tools instead of kitchen knives. Never carve toward yourself or while holding the pumpkin in your lap.
Open flames. After you’ve safely designed the perfect pumpkin face, consider using a battery-operated light instead of a candle to light it up. Fire can pose a hazard on Halloween, especially if it’s in an area where trick-or-treaters will walk or stand near. For this reason, it’s also smart to avoid long costumes and choose costumes and wigs marked flame resistant.
Trips and falls. Loose or long costumes can also trip kids up as they walk from house to house. Avoid costumes that involve sharp swords or sticks. And if the costume involves a mask, consider whether there’s an alternative that doesn’t limit visibility. In fact, the CDC recommends avoiding costume masks entirely this year as they can’t be safely worn over a cloth mask without causing discomfort.
If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, be sure the path they’ll take is clear and free of trip hazards like toys, garden hoses or décor. Rake away wet leaves. And, if you have pets that may be underfoot, keep them indoors. (This can also help avoid potential pet bite injuries and keep your furry friends safe.)
Overall, you can still have a fun, safe Halloween this year with a plan and a little preparation.
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