Halloween Safety Tips from Ochsner Hospital for Children
According to the US Census Bureau, more than 41 million children trick or treated last year. With Halloween approaching, neighborhoods will be teeming with festivities, food and fun. To help make the holiday a safe and enjoyable one for all, Ochsner Hospital for Children has compiled safety tips to keep in mind when going about your evening or planning out your "trick or treat" fun:
Safety Tips for Motorists
Neighborhoods that don't normally have a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic may experience an increase on Halloween night. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, kids are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween night than on any other day of the year.
If you are driving on Halloween, be very alert and slow down. Make sure your headlights are on and be particularly cautious in areas where cars are parked along the side of the street. Remember – kids will be excited and may forget to "stop, look and listen" before they cross the street.
Costume Safety Tips
Regardless if your little one is dressed up as a witch, pirate or their favorite superhero this year, make sure costumes fit properly so children don’t trip and fall. Double check that your child’s costume is fire resistant and avoid masks or wigs that could impair a child's hearing or field of vision. If necessary, enlarge ear and eye holes, or use makeup to create special effects.
Don’t forget about the props! Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes. Also, be careful if your child’s costume has a toy sword or wand as these can unintentionally cause eye injuries.
Since it’s likely to be dark while your family is out and about on Halloween night, decorate or trim costumes, "goody bags," and other containers with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Reflective tape can be purchased at bicycle, hardware and sporting goods stores. You can also add light up glow sticks to your trick or treat basket!
“Trick or Treating” Safety Tips
Before setting out for “trick or treating” discuss safety rules with your kids. Talk about the importance of only crossing the street at the corner or crosswalks and that they should never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. Before crossing the street, tell your children to look left, right and left again to make sure the path is clear and to stay with the group at all times. Stick to areas that are well lit and designate a sober adult to accompany children while “trick or treating” around your neighborhood.
Just Treats, No Tricks!
Wash your hands well before handing out candy to any trick-or-treaters. Be sure to have your kids wash their hands thoroughly before enjoying their loot. Examine all your child’s Halloween treats before they are eaten. Look for any signs of tampering and make sure that all packaging is intact and don’t allow your child to eat any treats that are not commercially packaged or has been prepared by strangers.
Remember – avoid trick-or-treating if your child has had a fever in the past 24 hours or is displaying any signs of illness to prevent the spread of infection to others and be sure that both you and your child have received your annual flu vaccine.
For more information or to make an appointment with an Ochsner Hospital for Children pediatrician, visit ochsner.org/pediatrics.
About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the #1 ranked hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as a “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner Hospital for Children is the only facility in Louisiana to be recognized as a top 50 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.