The Danger Of Halloween Is Not Tainted Candy, It’s Car Injuries


With Halloween just around the corner, now is the time that parents and children need to be reminded about how to stay safe while trick-or-treating. Many parents worry about tampered candy and strangers approaching their children on this holiday, but we at Westchester Health Pediatrics want everyone to know that the real danger is injury from car accidents.

Halloween is the #1 day for child-pedestrian car accidents and fatalities

Lauren Adler

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

Car accidents constitute the majority of Halloween fatalities. Kids between 12-18 years old account for 1/3rd of all fatalities, followed by 5-8 year olds, who account for 23%.

BE AWARE: The peak time period for car accidents on Halloween is 6:00-7:00pm.

Thrown objects and propellants (i.e., shaving cream, paints, silly string, eggs) can also cause serious injury, especially if they collide with your child’s eyes and/or head.

How to prevent your child from being injured by a car on Halloween

  1. Parents should make sure that costumes and masks do not obscure their child’s vision or ability to walk.
  2. Children, if walking without their parents or other adult, should carry glow sticks or flashlights, or have reflective tape on their costumes.
  3. Children should not use cell phones or other electronic devices while trick-or-treating because they not only distraction them while they’re walking but they can prevent them from noticing or hearing an approaching car.
  4. Children should trick or treat in communities that they’re familiar with, especially those with sidewalks and well-lit areas.
  5. Adults should supervise their children’s trick-or-treating if they are under the age of 12.
  6. If you’re following your children’s trick-or-treating in your car, drive slower and with caution, keeping on the lookout for children who may not see you.

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

Even though the public seems to think that tainted candy can be found in every trick-or-treat bag, in reality, the incidence is extremely low. However, you should check that the treats your child brings home are sealed in the original packing and have not been opened.

TIP: Children should avoid large amounts of candies that contain sorbitol (sugar substitute) to avoid abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Remember your child’s teeth

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we recommend that parents set a limit on the amount of Halloween candy their children eat after the event. Parceling out small portions each day often works well, with a time limit for getting rid of what hasn’t been eaten (say, a month after Halloween). You should also make sure your children brush their teeth each time after eating their candy.

Especially on Halloween, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

By following our tips on this Halloween, hopefully accidents can be prevented and you and your child will have a happy, exciting time. If you have further concerns about Halloween safety or worry that your child has eaten something tainted after the fact, please make an appointment at Westchester Health Pediatrics to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child, answer your questions and do whatever we can to put your mind at ease. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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By Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, Lead Pediatric Physician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

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About the Author: ML Ball