Cars, cuts, and burns top list of Halloween dangers

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Halloween is one of the most fun and anticipated nights of the year for children, but there is one scary statistic every parent should know about.

On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Halloween is also a busy time for hospital emergency rooms.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 3,500 Halloween-related injuries in October and November last year. The statistics aren’t meant to frighten, said Kate Carr, the president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, a consumer safety group. Rather, they’re meant to get parents focused on safety.

“We want everyone to have fun on Halloween,” said Carr. “That’s why it’s important to have a conversation with your kids and do some planning.”

Here are some of the top types of injuries which send kids to the hospital on and around Halloween, according to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital:

  1. Head injuries – From being hit by a vehicle or falling
  2. Cuts and lacerations – In 2014, 40 percent of those injuries were from pumpkin carving according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  3. Burns – From open flames from candles or lighters

Pumpkin Carving

  • Kid helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside or use a marker to trace the template, but leave the carving to the adults
  • When the masterpiece is carved, consider inserting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle

Costume Creating

Has your little one requested to be a fairy with a long, flowing dress? Or is the request for a superhero with the best cape ever? Regardless of the type of costume you create this Halloween, keep safety in mind.

  • When selecting fabric, use bright colors of polyester or nylon. Natural fibers, such as cotton, can burn fairly quickly, if there is contact with an open flame.
  • Avoid baggy or oversized costumes. trim costumes to the correct length to prevent falls on the big night.
  • Eye and nose holes in masks should allow for full visibility and adequate breathing. Makeup is a safer alternative.
  • If purchasing a costume, mask, beard or wig, look for the flame resistant label. Although that label doesn’t mean the product will not catch fire, it should extinguish quickly or resist burning.
  • Always use reflective tape as a trim for costumes and outerwear. A bright flashlight or glow stick can also help illuminate the trick-or-treaters.
  • If you plan to disguise your eyes with decorative contact lenses this Halloween, the Food and Drug Administration warns of serious eye damage. Follow the FDA’s safety tips to help prevent injury.

Creative Decorating

  • Prevent candle fires by substituting the open flame for battery-operated lights and glow sticks.
  • To prevent falls, remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
  • For indoor décor, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.

Motorists

  • Use caution while behind the wheel. Slow down and be alert in residential areas. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully. Eliminate distractions so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive sober or get pulled over. Always designate a sober driver and plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night if you plan on celebrating Halloween with alcohol.
  • Watch out for your family, friends, and neighbors. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.

Pedestrians

  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • Keep kids safe. Children out at night and under the age of 12 should have adult supervision.
  • Kids should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
  • Choose face paint when possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Decorate costumes with reflective tape and have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights.
  • Remember, everyone is a pedestrian.
  • Cross the street at corners and trick or treat on one side of street before heading to other side. Do not dart back and forth.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.

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