Haunted houses, trick-or-treating, costumes, and pumpkin carving are some of the reasons children love Halloween. Unfortunately, these same activities cause many injuries each year. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests that parents use these tips to keep children safe during various activities at this time of year:
1) Select costumes carefully. Poorly fitted costumes and masks can lead to visibility problems that mean slips and falls, head injuries, bone fractures, dislocations and other serious injuries. Well-fitted costumes and face paint (rather than masks) are usually the best option.
2) Select trick-or-treat routes carefully. Unfamiliar routes in the dark increase the odds of slipping and falling. If your children plan on visiting unfamiliar areas after dark, make sure that there is an adult supervising them and that there are plenty of flashlights on hand to light the way.
3) Carve pumpkins carefully. This common activity leads to serious skin injuries and even injuries to bones and tendons each year. Children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins. Adults should use specifically designed carving knives rather than kitchen knives, which can slip on the pumpkin skin and cause injury. Adults should always carve using small cuts, pushing the knife away from the body. Carving should only be done in a well-lit area and care should be taken to keep all areas and surfaces dry to prevent the knife from slipping. Buying a pre-carved pumpkin is a good idea to prevent injuries.
4) Review first aid before carving a pumpkin. If you do decide to carve your family’s pumpkin, review what to do in case of an injury. If you cut yourself while carving, elevate the wounded area above the heart and apply pressure to the area with a clean towel or cloth. If there is excessive bleeding or if after 15 minutes the bleeding has not slowed or stop, have someone take you to the emergency. If at any time you cannot move your fingers or you experience numbness in the area of the injury, visit your local emergency room.
5) Keep children visible to motorists. While most motorists are cautious on Halloween, children are often excited about candy and can run out in the road, which can lead to car accidents. Flashlights and reflective clothing can help prevent some accidents.