The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 40 million kids aged 5 to 14 will be keeping up the tradition of knocking on doors this Halloween. Urban legends about poisoned candy or razor blades stuck in taffy apples have made parents vigilant through the decades; however, no recorded incident of a random Halloween poisoning or razor blade incident exists. The biggest threat to trick or treaters , according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, is actually cars. Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night than on any other night of the year.
Halloween should be a night of spooky fun that doesn’t result in a trip to the ER.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer several tips to keep kids safe: costumes should include reflective tape. Costumes should NOT include anything that could be tripped over or a mask that obscures vision. Trick or treaters should never go to a house alone. Ideally, they should travel in packs with adult leaders who carry flashlights. The group should stay on the side walk or on the side of the road facing traffic. Everyone should always look both ways before crossing the street.
In addition to avoiding collisions, Halloween revelers should be mindful of injuries from accessories like swords or knives. Make sure these items are short, soft and flexible. Big kids might be tempted to go for the added thrill factor of decorative or character contact lenses. What’s really scary about these lenses, according to the FDA, is that in your effort to look like a vampire or alien for one night, you could end up with permanent vision damage. Always get a professional eye exam and a prescription for non-corrective lenses.
Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is the Director of Health Communication at Southeast Missouri State University.