October 25, 2004
Hospital offers tips to scare up a safe Halloween
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON—As a part of Think First, Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s statewide safety and injury prevention program, physicians and staff at the Jackson hospital are working with firefighters to help children avoid common Halloween hazards.
“We want parents, children and homeowners to do all they can to prevent any injuries on Halloween night,” said Lauren Fairburn, Think First coordinator. “It is important to be extra vigilant for possible hazards to ensure children are safe.”
The Think First team encourages children to:
- Always go trick-or-treating with an adult or group of friends
- Plan their entire route and make sure their parents know where they are going
- Get their parents to check all your candy before they eat it
- Be cautious of strangers and only accept treats in the doorway and never go inside a house
- Don't play near lit jack-o’-lanterns
- Only visit houses that have lights on
- Walk on sidewalks and driveways and do not run
- Cross the street at the corner or at a crosswalk
- Take a cellular phone if possible
- Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing so motorists can see them
- Always be aware of the time
- Make sure they wear a flame-retardant costume that is age appropriate
“Many children suffer from costume-related injuries on Halloween,” Fairburn said. “They get skin rashes from face paint, eye scratches and cuts from sharp objects on a mask or costume and burns from flammable costumes ignited by open flames from jack-o’-lanterns.”
Falls also are a problem, Fairburn said, and are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween night. “You need to make sure costumes do not drag the ground so that your child won’t trip and fall,” Fairburn said. She also encourages parents to make sure that masks have mouth and nose openings and that eyeholes are large.
Homeowners should also exercise appropriate safety measures for Halloween.
“People should remove anything in their yard or driveways that could trip the trick-or-treaters,” said Jackie Moore, fire safety educator for the Jackson Fire Department. Moore encourages pet owners to secure their pets and to make sure all paper or cloth yard decorations are out of the way of flaming candles.
Moore recommends using battery powered jack-o’-lantern candles instead of a real flame. “This eliminates any fire hazard, especially since homeowners won’t be outside watching the burning candles at all times,” adds Moore.