Keys to Avoiding Halloween Injuries

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Halloween is a fun day for kids and adults, with many cities hosting festivities for the entire family. But the holiday also has an unfortunate history of tragic accidents and injuries. Over the past several years in Orange County, California, there have been several deaths on the holiday. Due to the large number of injuries that happen on and around Halloween, there are several tips that can help families stay safe and avoid injuries. The CDC has extensive guidelines to help your family enjoy a safe holiday.  In recent years, many schools have been teaching the "Five C's" of Halloween safety. They are: Costume, Children & Trick or Treating, Cars, Candy, and Carving.

Costume Safety

Nylon costumes are popular and inexpensive, but not all the costumes are flame retardant. Every year, children are injured when their costumes light on fire. Be sure your costume, and your child's costume, is made of flame retardant materials.

Masks for children are discouraged, as they can constrict breathing and obstruct the child's vision. This can create especially dangerous conditions where the child is in a busy environment, where other people and drivers are not always paying attention to their surroundings. Some masks are made of latex or plastics that can cause allergic reactions in children and adults. 

Black costumes may be popular, but they have inherent risks due to people not being able to see you after dark. This is even more important if you or your child is trick or treating after dark, or in places that are not well lit. If your child insists upon wearing a dark costume, you can purchase reflective tape to attach to parts of the front and back of the costume. This will make the costume more visible to drivers at night.

Wigs, beards, and other artificial hair can sometimes light on fire and cause serious injury. These wigs are often made of flammable materials, and can also cause allergies. When possible, avoid using wigs and fake hair as part of your costume. Always make sure the hair does not cover your child's eyes and mouth.

Ill-fitting costumes create dangerous conditions that can lead to injuries. For example, children wearing costumes that are too large may trip. Kids like to run between houses, so running around at night, across streets and lawns can often result in children tripping and falling. On this note, wearing proper footwear will also help avoid trip and fall injuries. Children should wear tennis shoes that fit them and allow them to walk comfortably. 

Costumes that include knives, swords, and other metallic or sharp objects can be scary and dangerous. Most props are made of plastic these days, but every year there are a few children who are injured, sometimes seriously and through no fault of their own, by metal swords and props that are dangerous.

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Trick or Treating with Children

No matter how safe your neighborhood, children under the age of 12 should never trick or treat alone. Keep in mind that Halloween tends to attract new people to your neighborhood, so the people your children are trick or treating are not necessarily their neighbors or even members of their community. 

When children go trick or treating on their own, they should go with a group, and have a route they plan to take. Also, if possible, parents should send a cell phone with their child in case of emergency.  Children should be instructed not to enter homes, and they should not attempt to trick or treat at homes that do not have their porch light on. 

Children should carry some form of light with them, whether it be a glow stick or a flashlight, they should have some form of lighting themselves. This also helps parents identify their children (for example, parents can purchase neon green necklaces and bracelets for cheap, and easily identify their children in a crowd).

Your home should clearly indicate whether you are welcoming trick or treaters or not. If you are welcoming trick or treaters, you should put on your porch light. Avoid putting too many decorations in the walkways heading towards your door. Your yard should be well lit and safe for visiting children.

Car Safety

Halloween car accidents are twice as likely to involve auto versus pedestrians than any other day of the year. Tragically, Halloween is the day of the year when children are most likely to be killed or seriously injured by a car.

Many auto versus pedestrian injuries and deaths are the result in children ignoring normal traffic patterns and laws. Children are excited and run between houses, often crossing back and forth across the street. Not all drivers are paying attention, and some drivers are under the influence of alcohol. These abnormal conditions lead to many auto versus pedestrian injuries. Educate your children on the dangers of not paying attention, and instruct them to stay on the same side of the street as much as possible.

Children should be instructed not to approach any vehicles. Every year, there are disturbing incidents of child endangerment due to children approaching vehicles they are not familiar with. 

Candy Safety

Take a look at your child's candy before they eat it. Better yet, make a rule that the kids are not allowed to eat candy until they get home from trick or treating.

Homemade treats are a bad idea, unless of course they come from a family friend or someone you know.

When deciding what to give out as treats to trick or treaters, consider safety first. You may want to give a "healthy" treat, but many children become sick from eating fruit that is contaminated. 

Pumpkin Carving

Every year, children are injured after cutting themselves while carving a pumpkin. Recently, inexpensive carving kits have become popular. The knives and tools included in many of these kits are poor quality and are actually more likely to result in injury than when using a sharp kitchen knife. Children should be supervised when carving pumpkins.

Candles placed inside pumpkins are usually safe, but they can occasionally result in fire dangers. Be sure to monitor lit candles, and don't go to bed for the night without blowing out the candles - every year there are fires that result from pumpkins being left unattended.

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Injured on Halloween? Speak With a California Injury Lawyer

Although most Halloween injuries are avoidable and minor, occasionally serious injuries result from the negligence of someone else. If it was not your fault and you or your child was injured, you owe it to yourself to discuss your case with an injury attorney. The attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers are experienced in dealing with all kinds of personal injury cases, including auto versus pedestrian, auto versus auto, and slip and fall cases. The attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers represent clients throughout the state of California, from San Diego County, all the way to the Oregon Border and everywhere in-between.