Common Halloween Injuries and Accidents: How to Avoid Them?

Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays of the year. It involves the whole family. Everyone gets to dress up as whoever (or whatever) they want. The kids get free candy. Teens go out to party. It should be a night of pure fun, right?

Except…it’s not. 

According to Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Halloween is the fourth in the ranking for holidays where children get most injured.  In a more recent report by The Washington Post, Halloween safety statistics suggest that it is the “deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians”.

Indeed, these Halloween accident statistics are troubling. Fortunately, they can also be avoided by knowing what the common risks are and how to deal with them. 

In this article, we are going to be listing down the most common Halloween injuries in hopes that it can help keep you and your family safe while still having fun.

Common Halloween Accidents

Burns

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (or USFA), there were more than nine thousand fires reported to fire departments across the country during Halloween from 2017 to 2019. These events also resulted in at least 25 deaths per year, 100 injuries, and almost $120 million in property loss.

Most of these fires occurred late in the afternoon until early evening with a peak around 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. While most of these fires were due to cooking accidents, a significant percentage can still be attributed to malfunctioning costumes and decoration mishaps.

So what can you do?

The USFA recommends two things. First, they recommend using battery-operated candles for your Halloween decorations. It can help prevent costumes and decorations from accidentally catching on fire. 

And if you do decide to use open flames, then at least keep those candles (and other heat sources) away from highly flammable decorations like crepe paper and cornstalks. 

Dehydration

There are a lot of factors that may lead to dehydration during Halloween. First, there are those elaborate costumes that can get really hot especially when your child is engaging in strenuous activity (such as going trick or treating). 

Most of these kids also won’t tell you when they’re thirsty because they’re simply too focused on the task at hand. By the time that they feel lightheaded, they’re already dehydrated.

Another leading cause is sugar. Eating an increased volume of sugar can significantly increase urination that can then lead to dehydration.

Finally, research shows that alcohol consumption can also cause dehydration that can then lead to the deterioration of cognitive functions, another culprit behind Halloween accidents. 

So what can you do?

Let your kids wear more breathable costumes. Don’t overindulge in Halloween treats and drinks. And more importantly, ensure that your family carries a water bottle with them throughout the night.

Cuts and Scrapes

Before you start carving your pumpkin this year, please keep in mind that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 41% of Halloween injuries were related to pumpkin carving. 

Meanwhile, 32% were related to accidents that happened while putting up or taking down decor and 22% were due to costume-related injuries.

It is due to these Halloween safety facts that there are studies dedicated to determining the safer methods to carve pumpkins.

So what can you do?

According to the scientific journal Preventive Medicine, using pumpkin-specific knives can help minimize these injuries compared to using a standard kitchen knife.

Being extra careful while decorating is a given, but it is also highly recommended to dress your kids in fitted and less elaborate costumes that won’t accidentally trip them by accident. As an added precautionary measure, such costumes are also less likely to catch fire unnoticed. 

Traffic Accidents

The major concern, though, remains to be traffic accidents. Sugar-hyped kids running around in dark costumes in poorly lit streets with more drunk drivers than usual is obviously a recipe for disaster.

How many people die on Halloween due to vehicular accidents? Just to give you an idea on how serious it is, according to a recently published study that spanned 42 years, the researchers were able to record almost 1.6 million fatal traffic crashes during October 31st from 1975 to 2016.  

So what can you do?

Unfortunately, there’s only so much we can do to prevent drunk driving accidents. However, putting reflective vests (or materials) on your kids’ costumes can help. So is accompanying them as they go trick-or-treating. 

Steps to Take After Traffic Accidents

No one wishes for an accident to happen, but just in case you find yourself in one, here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Call the police immediately if someone had been injured or killed. 
  2. The drivers should exchange their names, contact, and insurance information.
  3. Take photos of the accident (especially of any injury incurred) before moving the vehicle, if possible.
  4. Keep a journal of all your recollections about the accident as well as any treatments you have undergone. Don’t forget to include any symptoms that you might have felt afterward.
  5. Try not to miss your medical appointments.
  6. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
  7. Finally, never provide insurance adjusters with statements that might put your claims at risk.

Halloween Safety Tips

Your Halloween can still be as spooky as you want but it shouldn’t be deadly. Here are more safety tips to keep in mind to further minimize Halloween-related injuries:

  • Instruct your children to walk on the sidewalk at all times. If the community you live in doesn’t have a clear sidewalk, then advise them to walk facing traffic.
  • Teach your children traffic rules, signs, and signals. 
  • Bring a flashlight with you if you plan on walking on a poorly lit street.
  • Keep your driveway well-lit.
  • Make sure that all of the elements in your costumes are fire-resistant.
  • Finally, ensure that your child can see and move well in his costume.

Happy Halloween and keep safe!

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