Children’s Hospital experts urge parents to keep children safe from preventable injuries this Halloween

Now that Halloween night is upon us, experts at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt say it’s time for one last safety review. Trick-or-treating is a fun family event and accidents are rare, but they do still happen. Accidents are more common in children who are just old enough to ask for less parental supervision.

"It’s the accidents on the streets… far and away the worst injuries we see are children struck by cars during Halloween trick-or-treating,” says Valerie Whatley, M.D., an emergency physician in the Pediatric Emergency Department at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Whatley says while most of the accidents she has seen involve children older than 10 who are without parental supervision at the time, accidents can happen at any age.

Drivers are urged to use extra caution on Halloween night, and parents should make sure that children’s costumes are “traffic safe.”

“Children should not be wearing masks that obstruct their vision, and costumes should not be easy to trip over,” Whatley said. “They should carry flashlights or carry or wear something bright or reflective that can easily be seen by motorists.”

Other tips include wearing costumes that:

  • are flame retardant or flame resistant.
  • fit your child properly and are not too long. Your princess may look cute in her flowing gown, but she could trip over her costume and fall.
  • have no sharp or pointed parts. Toy swords and knives not only look real, but they can also hurt if a child happens to fall on the sharp edge.
  • do not obstruct a child’s vision. Popular, realistic-looking masks can make it hard for younger children to maneuver safely at night. Consider drawing a gruesome grin on their face with non-toxic face paint.

"All you have to do is look at the costume and think ‘if I were wearing that costume and dashing out to trick-or-treat, would I get into trouble?’ If so, your child is at risk," suggests Tom Abramo, M.D., director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Hospital.

Media contact: Carole Bartoo, (615) 322-4747

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