When your child heads out the door this Halloween dressed up like Spiderman and ready to ring as many doorbells as you’ll let him, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is a night at the emergency room.
But federal health authorities want parents and caregivers to think about this sobering statistic: Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night than any other night during the year.
It stands to reason. About 40 million children will be walking around sidewalks and streets as they trick-or-treat in their neighborhoods, according to federal statistics.
To help keep children safe this year, the American College of Emergency Physicians is asking parents to take preventive steps that can greatly reduce their child’s risk.
“Every year you see kids injured while trick-or-treating, and it’s always frustrating because the injuries are easily prevented,” said Dr. Brian Keaton, the incoming President of ACEP, in a news release. “Typically, the most common incidents are eye injuries from sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes and children hit by cars as they walk and run around the neighborhood.”
One of the easiest ways to avoid injuries is to take trick-or-treating off of dark streets and into well-lit malls, which often offer their own festivities. Children can also attend an organized Halloween activity at a school or church.
The ACEP also recommends the following guidelines:
- Inspect all candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.
- Use sidewalks at night. Stay off streets. Obey all traffic laws.
- Chaperone children as they trick-or-treat. Do not visit unfamiliar homes.
- Make sure costumes allow children to move freely without tripping. Avoid baggy pants, long hems, high heels, and over-sized shoes.
- Do not wear costume contact lenses.
- Avoid masks. If your child must wear one, make sure they can easily breathe and see.
- Make sure costumes are made from flame-resistant materials.
- Make sure costumes are visible at night; avoid dark colors. Add reflective tape to the costume.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Census Bureau, American College of Emergency Physicians
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