Halloween safety urged

Published 9:28 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween is right up there with the most enjoyable times of the year — for children and adults, alike. But precautions should be taken against it ending on a sour note.

Federal health authorities say children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night.

But with the safety of children in mind, the American College of Emergency Physicians is advising parents about measures that can greatly reduce that risk.

Email newsletter signup

“Most injuries on Halloween are easily preventable,” said Carl Wentzel, Emergency Department director at Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View. “Precautions like following traffic laws and picking safe costumes go a long way in keeping children safe.”

One easy preventative measure is to trick-or-treat in well-lit malls, which often have Halloween activities, and not in dark streets. Other safer options include organized Halloween events at schools or churches.

Other ACEO recommendations:

  • 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.

For children, the other high-risk time of the year for injuries is the beginning of summer, according to Wentzel, “when they get out of school and are running around more.”

For adults, he said, it’s the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, when moms and dads are on ladders stringing up Christmas lights and other decorations, as well as climbing into attics.

His emergency room sees a handful more patients on Halloween, Wentzel said. “Most likely it’s a minor accident, like kids walking around after dark and slipping or falling,” he said.

Trick-or-treating is against the law for anyone over the age of 12, and in Suffolk it ends at 8 p.m.

The city reminds motorists to be patient and slow down, to only trick-or-treat at homes with the porch light on and for adult chaperones to carry a flashlight so motorists can see them.