How To Stay Safe At Halloween

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Halloween

The danger of Halloween is not candy or strangers, it’s injuries

Halloween is just around the corner and this is the time parents and children need to be reminded about some safety concerns so that the holiday remains a safe and happy one. Many parents worry about tampered candy and strangers during Halloween, but the real danger is with injuries.

Halloween ranks as the #1 day for child-pedestrian accidents and fatalities

Mason Gomberg, MD

Mason Gomberg, MD

The majority of Halloween fatalities involve automobile accidents. The 12-18 year old age group accounts for 1/3 of all fatalities, followed by 23% of 5-8 year olds. The peak time period for automobile accidents on Halloween is 6:00-7:00pm.

What you can do to minimize automobile accidents on Halloween

  • Parents should make sure that costumes and masks do not obscure their child’s vision or ability to walk.
  • Children, if walking alone, should carry glow sticks or flashlights, or have reflective tape on their costumes.
  • The use of cell phones or other electronic devices should be put away because they cause a distraction while walking and can prevent a child rom noticing an approaching car.
  • Children should trick or treat in known communities, especially those with sidewalks and well-lit areas.
  • Adults should supervise their children’s trick or treating walks if they are under the age of 12 (based on the maturity level of the child and the group they are with).
  • All automobile drivers should proceed with caution and drive slower in communities that have children trick and treating.

The fear of tampered candy is a common (but overblown) concern for parents

Even though these stories make front page media events, the incidence is extremely low. Parents should check that treats are always sealed in the original packing and have not been tampered with.

Parents should also set a limit to the amount of Halloween candy consumed each day and children should practice proper dental hygiene after eating their candies. Children should avoid large amounts of candies that contain sorbitol (sugar substitute) in an effort to avoid abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Accidents by friends occur more frequently than danger from strangers

The incidence of physical harm by adult strangers is also extremely low, but accidents by known teens or friends should be more of a concern. Thrown objects and propellants (i.e., shaving cream, paints, silly string, eggs) can cause serious injury, especially if they collide with a child’s eyes and/or head.

With an ounce of diligence, accidents can hopefully be prevented and the Halloween holiday will end on a happy and healthy note.

For more information on Halloween safety

To read a very informative article about which Halloween health hazards are factual and which are just scary stories, click here. 

By Mason Gomberg, MD, a pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics.

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About the Author: ML Ball