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How to protect kids from getting hurt on Halloween

CPSC: Estimated 4,500 kids treated in ER's for holiday-related injuries

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Halloween can be more than scary for the thousands of children who get hurt so badly they end up hurt in emergency rooms. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates from October through November of last year, 4,500 Halloween-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals.

Here's how most of the injuries happened:

  • 44% were related to pumpkin carving.
  • 25% were due to falls while putting up or taking down decorations, tripping on costumes or walking while trick-or-treating.
  • 27% were due to lacerations or children ingesting items other than candy. 
  • 4% were due to allergic reactions or rashes.

The CPSC suggests the following safety tips for a safe Halloween:


Pumpkin Carving:

  • Kid helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside or use a marker to trace the design but should leave the pumpkin carving to the adults
  • When your jack-o’-lantern masterpiece is ready, use battery-operated lights rather than an open-flame candle

DIY-Style Costume Creating:

  • When selecting fabric for costumes, choose polyester or nylon and not sheer cotton or rayon, which burns more rapidly. Any fabric can burn if it comes in contact with an open flame.
  • Use care to never drag a costume over an open flame, such as a candle burning in a jack-o’-lantern on a neighbor’s porch when trick-or-treating.
  • Avoid baggy or oversized costumes. Many injuries last year involved trips and falls.
  • Eye and nose holes in masks should permit full visibility and adequate breathing. Makeup may be a safer alternative to a mask.
  • Always use reflective tape as a trim for costumes and outerwear. Wearing a brightly colored costume and carrying a flashlight or glow stick can also help brighten the walkways for trick-or-treaters and allow them to be seen more easily by drivers. 

Creative Decorating:

  • Prevent fires by using battery-operated lights and glow sticks instead of candles.
  • Pay attention to the placement of decorations. To help prevent falls, remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
  • Use the CPSC ladder safety tips to prevent injuries while putting up or taking down decorations.
  • For indoor décor, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. It’s safer to use battery-operated lights.
  • Indoors or outside, only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.