Don't Let Injuries Be the Scariest Part of Halloween

 

Halloween is past us, but it's never too soon to start thinking about 2020! Pumpkin patches, haunted houses and trick-or-treating are fun and festive ways to celebrate the Halloween holiday, but the excitement of these activities can quickly turn dangerous if you're not careful. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) urges Halloween enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with safety tips to ensure injuries don't get in the way of holiday fun.

"Most people enjoy a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to your family's safety," states Jennifer Weiss, MD, FAAOS, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and spokesperson for the AAOS. "And while there is no reason to be overly anxious about safety concerns, parents and party goers alike should think about safety in a way that's memorable for all. After all, there's no fun in door-to-door candy hunts, pumpkin carving or even haunted corn maze trails if someone's getting hurt."

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 13,016 Halloween-related injuries treated in emergency departments, doctors' offices and clinics in 2018. Whether your children will be going trick-or-treating or attending a Halloween party, orthopaedic surgeons at the AAOS note that a few simple precautions can help make their experience safe and enjoyable. Consider the following tips:

  • Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and stay in crosswalks when crossing the street.
  • Wear costumes that 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.
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
  • Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well-lit.
  • Carry flashlights to see and be seen. Do not point your flashlight above chest level to avoid blocking the vision of other trick-or-treaters.
  • Add reflective tape to clothing and treat bags to allow vehicles to identify you more easily.
  • Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating and remember that pets can feel threatened when you approach their homes.
  • Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating.
  • Children should be supervised by an adult.

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips
If you are like many people, you may carve jack-o-lanterns to illuminate your front porch. But carving pumpkins for the All Hallows' Eve festivities increases the risk of ghastly injuries.

"Pumpkin-carving is one reason emergency rooms see a spike in the number of people treated for hand injuries," adds Dr. Weiss. "To avoid these injuries, consider paint, markers or other non-carving decoration kits for young children to get creative with their pumpkins this year."

Whether your family is preparing to carve pumpkins or prepping for a pumpkin pie, the expert orthopaedic surgeons at the AAOS recommend caution with the following tips:

  • 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.
  • Carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
  • If you are 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.
  • Avoid candles in pumpkins. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.

For more Halloween-safety tips visit, OrthoInfo.org.

More information about the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world's largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level to best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related musculoskeletal health care issues and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality.

 

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