A nine-year study examined holiday-related pediatric emergency room visits between 1997 and 2006 and found that Halloween is among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits with finger/hand injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries on Halloween (most likely because of pumpkin carving). Of these injuries sustained on Halloween, 33.3% were lacerations and 20.1 percent were fractures. The study indicates that children ages 10-14 sustained the greatest proportion of injuries.
I recommend that we all follow the following American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Halloween safety tips:
•Never let children carve pumpkins. Adults carving pumpkins should remember to use specifically designed carving knives, rather than kitchen knives, as they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin. Carve the pumpkin in small, controlled strokes, away from oneself on a strong, sturdy surface.
•Should a pumpkin carver cut a finger or hand, make sure the hand is elevated higher than the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be necessary. Additionally, it may be wise to follow-up with a hand surgeon to make sure everything is okay and nothing needs repair.
•Be considerate of fire hazards when lighting jack-o-lantern candles or use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights. Alternatively, try painting pumpkins for a fun, creative option and removes the risks of carving. My son and I use a "Mr. Potato" pumpkin decorating kit--it safe and clean!
•Halloween costumes should be light and bright, so children are clearly visible to motorists and other pedestrians. Trim costumes and bags with reflective tape that glows in the dark.
•Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. Be sure the child’s vision is unobstructed from masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, trim or hem their costumes as necessary.
•Children should wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
•It is important that children walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. They should also obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
•Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well lit. Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
•Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating and remember that these pets can impose a threat when you approach their home.
•It’s also a good idea to carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
With Halloween activities going on all weekend, drivers need to look out for children. Unfortunately, too often the child's quest for candy puts their safety thoughts on the back burner. So, it is our responsibility to drive extra carefully.
Have a safe and spooky Halloween!! FYI-for all those wondering, my son will be Scooby-Doo this year with Daddy being Shaggy! It should be fun!!