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Halloween is one of the top three most dangerous holidays for kids

Posted at 12:48 PM, Oct 29, 2012

Just a few changes to your Halloween plans and costumes can keep the night fun and injury-free.

EMSA officials offer this information:

Each year, EMSA sees a spike in calls involving children 14 and younger on Halloween night. The national holiday can be enjoyed without incident by following safety precautions before, during and after the night's events.

More than 40 million children will trick-or-treat nationwide. Statistically, Halloween is in the top three holidays, with the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, responsible for sending children to emergency rooms.

Every year, hundreds of Oklahoma children are injured during Halloween resulting from auto-pedestrian incidents, costume difficulties, choking on candy, poisoning, cutting their hands carving pumpkins or engaging in recreational drug use with friends.
Make plans now to keep your child safe. A safe Halloween starts well before the big night.
Important safety reminders include:
Costume Safety

Flame Resistant: Since candlelit pumpkins are popular on Halloween, when purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, look for flame resistant materials. Although this label does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. Although it is easy to buy a Halloween costume that is flame resistant by simply checking the label, if you are making a homemade costume, be sure to use flame resistant materials.
Easily visible at night: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists. This might include some kind of reflective tape or other bright and reflective materials incorporated into the costume. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores. In addition, to help make sure your child can see and can be seen, you might incorporate a flashlight into your child's costume.
Trip resistant: Make sure the costume is well-fitted to your child and not too long so that it can make your child trip and fall, a leading cause of injuries on Halloween. Masks, hats, and other accessories, such as a sword, should also be appropriate to your child's size. Children should also wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother's high heels are not a good idea for safe walking. Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes. Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, however, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision. Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.

Pedestrian Safety

Walk, don't run: Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child. A great recommendation is for supervising parties to carry a very bright flashlight to safely point the way for children and illuminate the walkway to prevent falls.  All children should WALK, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street. Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers.
Clear Path: People expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches. Candlelit jack-o'-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame. Indoor jack-o'-lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations, and other furnishings that could be ignited.
Choosing Safe Houses: Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome. Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.

Poisoning Safety

Treats: Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering.

Teen Safety

Know Specific Plans: Traditional Halloween activities are catered to young children leaving teens left to create their own fun. Know where teens will be, with whom and what specific activities are planned.

Create alternatives: To ensure teens stay safe and supervised this Halloween, consider creating alternative events like a gathering at a parent's house or a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

EMSAs online safety resource center offers complete listings of how to keep kids safe at home, outdoors, from fire and on the school bus.

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