In their Halloween safety guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents that pedestrian accidents are the biggest risk to children on Halloween. Likewise, a MedPage Today article states that emergency rooms see an increase in injuries on Halloween, including cuts and burns, from pumpkin carving and jack o’ lantern candles. The article further reports that most Halloween related gastro-intestinal distress is caused by over consumption of candy and sugar, not by Halloween treats that have been tampered with.
For Halloween safety, parents should help children be safe pedestrians on Halloween night, practice safe pumpkin carving and limit sugar consumption.
Halloween Night Pedestrians
Nighttime trick or treating means that children are not likely to be visible to motorists. Often, children wear dark Halloween costumes, neglect to use crosswalks or assume that drivers see them.
For safety, use reflective tape on Halloween costumes to make children more visible at night. Be sure that costumes fit well and are not a tripping hazard for children. Young children should be accompanied by a parent while trick or treating. Always walk on sidewalks or on the left-hand side of the road, facing traffic, if no sidewalk is available. Instruct children to never dart out into the street and to avoid crossing near parked cars, which obstruct a driver’s view of pedestrians.
Jack ‘O Lantern Carving Safety for Children
Young children should never use a knife to carve a Halloween pumpkin. Instead, children can draw a design on the pumpkin with a marker, leaving the carving for an adult. Alternatively, children can paint their Halloween jack ‘o lantern.
Use caution when lighting a jack ‘o lantern with a candle. Keep children away from the candle and never leave a lit jack ‘o lantern unattended indoors.
Avoid Halloween Candy Stomach Aches
Too much candy can leave a child with a belly ache on Halloween night. It can be hard for a child to use restraint when tempted with a full bag of Halloween candy. Start the night on the right note by serving a healthy dinner before trick or treating. After trick or treating, encourage children to sort the candy, eat a few favorite pieces and save the rest. Some families choose to save a few favorite candies then trade the rest for a much-coveted toy.
The greatest risks on Halloween night come from pedestrian accidents, jack o’ lantern carving and Halloween candy-induced stomach aches. Work with children to ensure they will be safe pedestrians. Leave pumpkin carving to the adults and reduce sugar intake for young trick or treating children.