Most of us have grown up with urban legends about razor blades and poison being hidden in Halloween candy. In truth, the greatest danger on Halloween may surprise you: pedestrian accidents. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, U.S. children are twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
The Top Causes of Halloween Injuries
Pedestrian Collisions With Vehicles
National Safety Council research estimates that on Halloween 2015, improperly crossed roads or intersections accounted for 17% of pedestrian deaths. Another 15% of the deaths were related to poor visibility because of low lighting or dark clothing.
Eye Injuries From Sharp Objects
Many kids utilize props to make their costumes more authentic, such as pirate swords or canes.
Burns From Flammable Costumes
This risk is exacerbated by using candles in jack-o-lanterns and decorations.
Trips and Falls
Unwieldy or ill-fitting costumes, masks causing limited vision, and outdoor Halloween decorations creating unfamiliar obstacles are a dangerous combination.
Finger or Hand Injuries
Carving pumpkins often results in cuts or puncture wounds.
While it is still a good practice to examine food items given to your children by complete strangers, you probably don’t need to lose any sleep over the fear of razor blades. And according to one emergency room doctor, instances of poisoning are more likely to happen due to ingesting toxic face paint or liquid from broken glow sticks. Candy-related injuries on Halloween are rare, and more likely to be caused by choking – or becoming nauseated from eating too many sweets.
Halloween Safety Tips
We at TorkLaw want you to have a safe and happy Halloween. Below is a comprehensive guide to keep you and others injury-free:
- Wear brightly-colored costumes or use reflective tape.
- Select well-fitting shoes, and costumes that are short enough to prevent tripping or contact with flame.
- Avoid masks, which can block vision. Use (non-toxic) makeup instead.
- Choose soft, flexible props when possible; they should not be sharp or too long (to avoid falls).
- Make sure costumes, wigs and accessories are made of flame-resistant materials.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without a prescription. While there are costume contact lenses you can buy without your doctor’s written consent, these products are illegal and are known to cause serious eye injuries and infections.
- Only adults should carve pumpkins carving. Paint your pumpkin instead, or have your child draw the pattern on the pumpkin and let adults cut it out.
- Carve in a clean, dry area; keep tools, hands and cutting surface dry, to avoid slippage.
- Adults should use a pumpkin-carving kit with specialty carving tools instead of kitchen knives, which become stuck too easily – causing injuries when people struggle to pull them back out.
- Use short, controlled knife strokes away from yourself on a sturdy surface.
- Clear your porch and front yard of obstacles, such as garden hoses, toys, and bikes.
- Make sure outdoor decorations don’t obstruct steps or walkways.
- Use a glow stick instead of a candle in jack o’lanterns.
- If you do use candles, keep them away from curtains and other flammable objects. Never leave them unattended.
- Accompany young children (under 12).
- If older children are going alone, plan and review their route.
- Agree on a specific return time.
- Teach your children to never enter a stranger’s home or car.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children.
- Use flashlights to be more visible and identify potential obstacles.
- Stay in a group.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- Stay on well-lit, familiar streets and avoid cutting across yards or using alleys.
- Stay on the sidewalk and cross at corners. If no sidewalk exists, walk on the far edge of the roadway, facing traffic.
- Cross the street as a group, in crosswalks – not in the middle of a block, or between parked cars.
- Don’t assume that cars will stop for you, as they may have trouble seeing you.
- Carry a cellphone for quick communication. Call 911 if you’re lost, have an emergency, or see any suspicious or unlawful activity.
- Slow down to at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit in residential neighborhoods, especially between 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Keep in mind they may be in dark costumes and difficult to see.
- Look for children crossing the street from yards or porches. They may not be paying attention to traffic and cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
- Be careful when entering and exiting driveways and alleys.
- Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
If you or a loved one suffers an injury on Halloween, TorkLaw‘s attorneys can help you. If the injury occurred due to a dangerous/defective product – such as costume contact lenses – or to someone else’s negligence, such as a trip and fall caused by an dangerously-placed Halloween decoration, or a vehicle or pedestrian accident, call us for a free consultation on how to ensure you’re fully compensated for your loss.