Toms River, N.J., October 9, 2008 – Halloween is an exciting time for kids, but it is also a time to be especially cautious of safety hazards so that children can have a safe and fun Halloween. Everyone wants to enjoy the trick-or-treat holiday, so following a few simple precautions can help avoid a trip to the Emergency Department.
William Dalsey, MD, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Kimball Medical Center, said, “Halloween poses unique risks to children, such as the fact that most Halloween activities take place outside, in the dark walking up and down and across streets putting them at risk for injury.”
Laurence Des Rochers, MD, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Community Medical Center, agreed, adding, “Young children aren’t focused on street safety as they are running from house to house trick-or-treating. They aren’t paying attention to traffic or worried about crossing at crosswalks and since a lot of this activity happens after dark, drivers can’t always see the children or react in time to prevent a tragedy.”
Both Dr. Dalsey and Dr. Des Rochers urged parents to follow common sense practices this Halloween to keep events safe and fun for everyone.
Community and Kimball offer the following Halloween safety tips to help avoid a trip to the Emergency Department:
- Plan and wear costumes that are bright, reflective and flame retardant. Make sure that shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping.
- Secure emergency identification (i.e. name, address, telephone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
- Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
- Teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children while trick-or-treating.
- Use flashlights when trick-or-treating at night. Walk, don’t run, from house to house; stay on sidewalks and obey traffic signals.
- Only trick-or-treat at homes with porch lights on in local, familiar neighborhoods. Stay on the home’s porch, do not go inside when trick-or-treating.
- Bring all candy home before eating and have an adult inspect it for tampering.
- Do not eat any unwrapped treats and discard homemade treats from strangers.
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Have the children draw or paint on the pumpkin instead.
- If an adult does carve a pumpkin, use extreme caution using sharp knives. Consider using a pumpkin carving tool specially designed for this task.
- Place lighted pumpkins on sturdy tables. Consider using a flashlight inside a pumpkin instead of a lit candle.
- When driving on Halloween, be cautious of children; drive slow and take extreme caution when exiting driveways, alleyways, and near intersections where children may be crossing.
Should any injuries or illness occur during Halloween, contact your pediatrician, visit your local Emergency Department, or if the matter is serious or life-threatening, always dial 9-1-1.
Kristine A. Brown
Director of Public Relations
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