(Posted on ChesterCountyMoms.com)
There's a little more than one week to go before the kids get dressed up in their costumes, the pumpkins get carved, and the candy gets eaten. Here are a few recommendations to make the day fun and safe:
If going trick or treating:
- Avoid going alone. Go in groups or with a trusted adult. Little kids should never go alone. Wear reflective tape and carry a flashlight so drivers can see you. Do not go inside homes unless you are with a trusted adult.
- Costume accessories can be dangerous. For kids, make sure accessories such as swords and knives are soft and flexible. Do not wear decorative contact lenses as these may cause serious eye injuries. Be sure to remove decorative make-up before going to bed to avoid skin and eye irritation.
- Wear well-fitting costumes and masks to avoid trips and falls.
- Consume only factory-wrapped treats. Do not eat homemade treats unless you know the person well.
If staying home to give out candy:
- Be sure walking areas and steps/stairs around your home are well-lit and free of obstacles.
- Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Never leave them unattended.
If you are out driving on Halloween night:
- Drive slowly, avoid distractions, watch out for trick-or-treaters, and don't drink and drive.
From the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, here are some recommendations when carving pumpkins:
- Carve in a clean, dry and well-lit area. Make sure carving tools are thoroughly dry to avoid slipping.
- Leave the carving to adults. Kids may participate by drawing a pattern on the pumpkin and cleaning out the seeds. When carving the pumpkin, cut away from you and in small, controlled strokes.
- Pick utensils carefully. Larger and sharper knives may get wedged in the thicker part of pumpkins, requiring more force to dislodge the knife. Injuries can occur if the hand is in the wrong place when the knife becomes dislodged. Hands may also be injured if the knife accidentally goes through the other side and hits the hand steadying the pumpkin.
- Consider using a Pumpkin Carving Kit as pumpkin carving saws require less force than serrated or plain kitchen knives (Alexander M. Martin MD., 2004). Injuries can still occur with carving kits so care should still be taken with any carving tool.
- 5) The safest option is painting or decorating the pumpkin with items that can be glued or attached to the pumpkin.
If an injury does occur to the hand, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If continuous pressure doesn't slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes OR if sensation, color, or function of the injured area is affected, you should go to your local emergency department for further evaluation and management.