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Published on October 27, 2011

Emergency Medicine Physicians Present Tips to Help Keep Kids Safe at Halloween

In Brief

  • Crozer-Keystone emergency medicine leaders remind employees and members of the community that are lots of simple ways to keep your child safe at Halloween, when accidents and injuries are more likely to occur.
  • During Halloween activities, young children should supervised by an adult at all times. Children should wear costumes that are bright and do not block their vision. Parents should also check all candy children receive before the candy is eaten.   

Everyone wants to have a safe and happy Halloween for themselves and their children. Using safety tips and some common sense can help you make the most of your Halloween season, keeping it as enjoyable for your kids as it is for you. There are lots of simple ways to keep your child safe at Halloween, when accidents and injuries are more likely to occur.

The excitement of children and adults at this time of year can sometimes make them not as careful as they would normally be. Simple common sense ideas can do a lot to stop tragedies from happening.

 “Children may find themselves in an accident or injured when they don’t have the right supervision. Make sure children are supervised so they do not get lost  or worse, abducted. Any child under the age of 12 should have an adult with them. We also see injuries relating to running across lawns or sidewalks in the dark and tripping over uneven surfaces,” says Gregory Cuculino, M.D., chairman of the Sections of Emergency Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Taylor Hospital. “Make sure your child has a flashlight or glow stick while trick-or-treating.”

“The other concern is oncoming traffic. Children get excited and are likely to run quickly from house to house for candy and forget about traffic. It is important to have adult supervision to watch for on coming cars,” says Bruce Nisbet, M.D., chair of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Nisbet continues, “Dress children in a bright costume so others can see them. If their costume is dark, have them wear reflective strips. Also try to avoid wearing a mask but use face paints instead so their vision won’t be obstructed. It is also a good idea to have their full names and phone number attached to their costumes somewhere if they are too young to remember them.”

“The best costumes are the ones that are comfortable, flame-resistant and weather-appropriate. Many times, the evening gets cold, and the costume must accommodate the weather. It is not a pleasant experience for a young child to be shivering in the cold running from house to house,” Cuculino says.

Inspect all candy before children eat it. Tell your children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. “It is always important to check the candy to make sure it is not tampered with or even spoiled. The best thing is only eat candy that is sealed or pre-packaged. Any candy that is not sealed or appears to have been opened should be discarded,” says George Parsons, D.O., director of Emergency Medicine at Springfield Hospital.

“When you sort through the candy, it is important to make sure your children only eat age appropriate candy. For example, do not give small children candies that they can swallow whole and choke on,” Parsons says. “Most importantly keep an eye on what your child brings home from trick or treating. Some children have allergies to foods and you want to make sure that your child doesn’t come across something that will make them sick.”

If you choose to have a party instead of trick-or-treating for your friends or your children’s friends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest some helpful tips for party goers:

  • Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters, such as individual packs of raisins, trail mix, or pretzels. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and cheeses.
  • Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
  • Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.  

By keeping Halloween a fun, safe and happy holiday for you and your kids, they'll be more likely to carry on the traditions that you have taught to them with their own families some day.

For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System or to find a physician who’s right for you, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit www.crozerkeystone.org.

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