Halloween is an amazing holiday, when kids get to indulge in make-believe play and of course tons of candy! Unfortunately as fun as this spooky holiday can be, it is statically one of the most dangerous nights of the year. As a pediatrician, I treat a lot of upset stomach and food allergies, but burns, cuts, and broken bones are very common injuries we see at the emergency room on halloween night. As children dash from house to house, focused on their next treat, the dark congested streets can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Burns, Bruises, and Broken Bones
Make sure that your child’s costume fits appropriately. It is important to avoid over sized dresses and uncomfortable shoes. The bottom of your child’s costume should be a least an inch off the floor. Try to find a costume that your child can safety run in without tripping. The brighter the costume the better. You want your child to be visualized by possible passing cars. Get creative and incorporate reflective tape into the costume if possible. Remember candles are frequently used to light up pumpkins and other halloween decorations. Running children, loose fabric, and fire are a horrible combination. Try to find costumes that are made with flame-retardant materials. Go over and practice the principle of stop-drop-roll with your child, just in case his or her clothes catch on fire. Try to skip a mask and limit the amount of accessories. Masks can easily obstruct a child’s vision. You can use non-toxic hypoallergenic face paint instead. Lastly, try to avoid swords, knifes, and other sharp pointed accessories. It is not only a threat to your child, but to other trick-or-treaters too.

Street Safety
Twice as many child pedestrians will be hit by a car on halloween than any other day of the year. If you have smaller children, try to start your trick-or-treating while it is still light out. Go over street safety with your child before heading out. Children under the age of 12 years old should always hold an adult’s hand while crossing streets. Make sure to always use the sidewalks. If there is not a sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far off of the road as possible. I suggest designating an adult to walk the children in your group.

Candy Catastrophes
Make sure you go through your child’s bag before you let them dive in! If you have a infant or toddler in the house, hard candy and small toys can become a serious choking hazard. Make sure to eliminate all small and hard items from the bag. If you child has a specific allergy, do the research ahead of time. Look up the popular candies given out on Halloween, and make sure the factory is peanut free. Never allow your child to eat something that is homemade. If you are hosting a Halloween party, ask your guests ahead of time if their child has specific allergy and label foods that have peanuts in them. If your child has an allergy, make sure his or her epi-pen is with you before leaving the house.

We hope these tips lead to a safe and enjoyable Halloween with your adorable dressed up kids and pets!

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