Halloween is a fun and busy time for families all over the country. The holiday is filled with costumes and candy and other entertaining shenanigans, but all this amusement is not without its risks. To help keep your kids safe this year, Lurie Children’s Emergency Department’s Trauma Coordinator, Corinne Sadecki-Lund, RN, BSN, gives some tips on Halloween do’s and don’ts for avoiding the emergency department.
“Some of the most common Halloween traumas we see are costume -elated,” says Corinne. It’s important that your child’s costume fits properly and ensure that any masks they may be wearing don’t reduce visibility. Costumes that are too long could result in tripping and broken bones; masks might cause kids to not be able to see clearly when crossing the street, possibly leading to a car accident.
Dressed-up animals are also a minor cause for concern. While puppies in costumes may make the perfect Instagram post, it often leaves the dogs uncomfortable and aggravated. These pets are also subjected to crowded, unfamiliar situations that can also make them nervous. Kids who go to pet these irritated animals may find themselves with an unexpected bite that could result in stitches and antibiotics.
“The candy kids pick up from trick-or-treating shouldn’t cause too much anxiety, but it can be a choking hazard,” Corinne warns. Parents should always inspect the candy, being sure to throw away any unwrapped pieces and to toss anything homemade that is from a home not known to the family. Parents should also monitor overeating, limiting the number of treats children are eating and make sure little ones aren’t trying to eat something they can’t swallow.
Lastly, Corinne notes that holidays are an excuse for teens and adolescents to act out and engage in risky behavior. Underage drinking and experimenting with illegal substances are what typically land high school age teens in the emergency department on Halloween. Just like ill-fitting costumes and poor visibility, the decreased judgment caused by these activities can also lead to a potential car accident – one of the scariest things you’ll find on Halloween. Be aware of your older kids’ plans and encourage them to make safe choices