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Have and fun — and safe — Halloween

October 29, 2010

While minor stomach aches from eating too much candy may be the most common hazard on Halloween, we should all remember that emergency physicians say they treat way too many children for serious injuries that could have been prevented.

The most common injuries on Halloween are eye injuries from sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes and injuries from collisions with motor vehicles, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

To ensure a safer Halloween, parents and caregivers should follow important safety measures.

The list of things parents and children should follow are mostly common sense measures, but bear reminding:

• Make sure you see all the candy before your child consumes it. Avoid candy not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.
• Make sure your child stays on the sidewalks as much as possible (off the streets) and obeys all traffic signals.
• Discuss the importance of staying together in a group. Require at least one adult to serve as chaperone during candy gathering and forbid children from accepting rides from strangers or visiting unfamiliar homes.
• Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and over-sized shoes.
• Avoid costume contact lenses.
• Avoid masks, but if your child must wear one, make sure it is well ventilated and does not impair his or her vision.
• Make sure that costume fabric, wigs and beards are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
• Make sure that costumes are visible at night; avoid dark colors. Add reflective tape to the costume to help make your child more visible to motor vehicles.
• Check that accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects are made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.

That’s the list offered by the ACEP. But don’t forget that children who “trick-or-treat” at so-called safe, community sponsored events still need to do so with adult supervision.

It's also important for us to note that youngsters will be out attending Halloween events all weekend. It seems like things are being scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

And most importantly, if you happen to be out driving at night this weekend, take extra caution. Make sure any youngster wrapped up in the excitement of trick-or-treating or fall festival that does venture into your path doesn’t become a heart-breaking statistic.

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