Ghosts and ghouls aren’t the only thing you should be worried about on Halloween. Besides the concern over cavities and maybe staying up a little too late on a school night, there are some other important safety precautions to keep in mind when preparing for Halloween.
Check out these important Halloween safety tips from experts.
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Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 16,706 patients were treated for Halloween-related injuries last year. Over 3,000 patients were treated for pumpkin carving accidents alone. To have a fun—but safe—Halloween experience, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has some advice.
“Pumpkin carving is a fun activity, but it can result in serious cuts on the hand and injuries to bones and tendons,” said AAOS spokesperson and pediatric orthopaedic surgeon L. Reid Boyce Nichols, MD. “Consider having children decorate pre-carved pumpkins with stickers and paint to avoid using sharp objects. This will allow children to join in the fun while eliminating the use of sharp objects and their risk of injury,” Nichols continues.
To stay safe while decorating pumpkins the AAOS suggests these tips:
1. Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in thick pumpkin skin. Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for older children, may be safe for use with parental supervision.
2. Carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area. Also make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
3. If you do get cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, you may need to contact your doctor. Make sure cuts are cleaned and covered with clean bandages.
4. Avoid candles in Halloween pumpkins and other decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.
Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips
Pumpkins aren’t the only source of danger to consider. Trick-or-treating can also pose risks but there are some simple steps you can take to stay safe. The AAOS suggest the following:
1. Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and stay in crosswalks when crossing the street.
2. Wear bright-colored costumes to make it easier for children to be seen at dusk or in the dark. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to provide additional visibility.
3. Ensure costumes are flame-resistant and fit properly. The child’s vision should not be obstructed by masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
4. Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
5. Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well-lit. It’s not just about the spookiness factor—it’s about avoiding slips, falls or other injuries, especially when navigating around in a costume.
6. Carry flashlights to see and be seen. Do not point your flashlight above the chest level to avoid blocking the vision of other trick-or-treaters.
7. Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating and remember that pets can be a threat when you approach their homes.
8. Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating. Hopefully you won’t need to dial 911, but it’s better to be prepared.
9. Children should always be supervised by an adult. And besides, that’s probably the most fun of taking little kids trick-or-treating anyway, is watching them have fun!
Keeping Track of Your Trick-or-Treaters
If your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat on their or if you want to take precautions in case you accidentally get separated, there is an easy way to keep tabs on your kids whereabouts using your phones. Andrew Moore-Crispin, a former tech journalist, and the Director of Content at Ting Mobile suggests turning your kid’s phone into a GPS tracking device for Halloween.
Moore-Crispin explains that, “Google Maps has a cool feature that lets you share locations in real-time. You can see where your trick-or-treaters are and supervise from home. This is an awesome Halloween safety tip for parents of slightly older kids (think early middle school) where kids might be asking to trick-or-treat on their own with a group of friends.”
To set up the GPS tracker for Halloween you’ll need two Google Accounts (one for you and one for your child), two devices and the Google Maps app installed on both devices. Check out Ting Mobile’s step-by-step guide.