October 18, 2005
Methodist Rehabilitation Center offers tips on avoiding common Halloween safety blunders
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—As a part of Think First, Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s statewide safety and injury prevention program, physicians and staff at the Jackson hospital remind children to avoid common Halloween-related mistakes.
”The most important thing parents, children and homeowners can do is to use common sense,” said Lauren Fairburn, Think First coordinator. “It is important to be extra vigilant for possible hazards to ensure children are safe. Everyone in the community needs to exercise appropriate safety measures by preparing a safe yard free of debris to prevent falls. Pets need to be housed away from children and flaming candles should be avoided.”
Fairburn recommends using battery powered jack-o-lantern candles to eliminate any fire hazard. But if you use burning candles, she said to be sure to remove them from the yard or doorway to prevent children from tripping over them and starting a fire or igniting their costumes.
Falls also are a problem and are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween night, she said. Fairburn encourages parents to make sure that masks have mouth and nose openings and that eyeholes are large. “Make sure costumes do not drag the ground so that your child won’t trip and fall.”
She encourages children to be mindful of costume-related injuries. “Children can get skin rashes from face paint, eye scratches and cuts from sharp objects on a mask or costume.” Safety products like reflective trick-or-treat bags, Halloween pins that blink or any other glow in the dark item will help keep children more visible in the dark. “Never allow children to go out alone and always carry a flashlight,” urges Fairburn.
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 candy before it is eaten
- Be cautious of strangers, 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
- Wear reflective clothing so motorists can see you
- Always be aware of the time
- Make sure they wear a flame-retardant costume that is age appropriate