Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids that allows them to dress up as their favorite characters and decorate for the holiday.
But it can also be a dangerous night for children.
“Twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year,” says Ronda Lusk, the registered nurse who leads Trauma outreach and education for Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals, part of Ascension. “We know we have many more pedestrians on the street and we also have a lot of parents driving those kids. Our advice is for parents and kids to walk while trick-or-treating and to stay in a group where everyone is wearing some sort of reflective materials so they can be easily seen.”
To help ensure children enjoy have a safe holiday and avoid a trip to the emergency room, Lusk recommends “six Cs” that everyone should keep in mind for Halloween:
- Costumes – Beware of costumes that impair a child's field of vision, constrict breathing, or prevent their arms and legs from functioning normally. If possible, wear costumes that are easier to see in the dark or are marked with reflective tape. Be mindful that costumes incorporating fake knives, swords and guns can still cause injuries and may even be mistaken as real weapons.
- Cars – Trick-or-treaters shokuld eep an eye out for cars and look both ways while trick-or-treating in the dark. A large group walking together is much easier for drivers to see than individual children. Drivers should slow down and watch out for trick-or-treaters who may dart out into the street
- Candy – Inspect your child's candy, but the biggest danger comes from choking. Also, be mindful if your child is allergic to certain foods or nuts that can be found in candy. Some households will display a ‘teal pumpkin’ on the doorstep to indicate they are aware of food allergies and have non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys.
- Carving – Don't let children handle knives when carving pumpkins. Adults should also be extra careful when handling sharp objects.
- Candles – Make sure children stay away from open candles and flames from lanterns. Use safer alternatives to candles like flash lights and glow sticks. Also, when choosing a costume, look for flame-resistant fabrics or the label "Flame Resistant."
- Cell phones – Kids, and parents, need to pay attention especially when they are walking around dark neighborhoods and using cell phones can lead to a distraction which could result in tripping or falling or walking in front of cars.