Uncommon Halloween Safety Tips: What EMS Wants You to Know

Little TigerHalloween time is an exciting time for parents and kids. Halloween means parents and children decorating houses and lawns, picking out costumes and planning the inevitable trick or treating. Halloween time and specifically Halloween night is an exciting time for EMS and hospitals …but not in a good way. Exciting to us means BUSY and there are things that we bring into the ER every year that makes us and the ER staff members shake our heads …things that hopefully – with these safety tips – parents will now think twice about.

  1. Candy and food allergies: We all know we should check the candy our kids get and make sure it looks safe, but did you know you should also check for contents that could cause allergic reactions. Many candies have nuts and they get missed.
  2. Costumes and face paint irritants. Face paint is great and looks cool but the time to test it is not on Halloween night when it’s dark and you can’t see any reactions like a rash or breathing problems caused by full costume. Colored contact lenses should be added to this list. Kids like to wear them with costumes and if doing so should be made aware of what to watch for like irritations and damage to their eyes and taught how to put them on and take them out properly.
  3. Real Props. Cuts, pokes, scrapes and real trauma from kids and adults using REAL PROPS. Using a plastic knife or pitchfork is ok. Using real knives and pitchforks should not happen at all but especially around children. A no brainer…but it happens.
  4. Letting kids wander alone. Letting your child wonder alone is your choice, all I can add to this is please think about who is going to speak for your child in the ER if YOU are not around.
  5. Broken Bones. Kids should have costumes they can move in and enjoy themselves in. If your child cannot walk correctly or has trouble with then it should be changed so as to avoid trip, falls and possible broken bones.
  6. Carving Pumpkins. Many children end up in the ER every year with serious cuts from carving pumpkins with sharp objects that are not meant for carving or were left unattended. Make sure kids are supervised and tools put away.
  7. Using Real Candles in Decorations. Real candles add a certain effect to the decoration but also bring a danger of surrounding objects catching fire if decorations are bumped or knocked over or left unattended. There are many brands of colored lights that can be put in decorations that bring a great effect and pose no threat to any one or home.
  8. Hayrides. Every child loves a hayride and they are great but like any ride and everyone should be secure, not just children. Injuries are mostly from falls and can be serious. Security, proper seating and slow speed should be requirements.
  9. Home Decorations. Decorating your home for Halloween can involve dark or no lighting and lawn inflatables. A dark home with ropes all over the place securing decorations do not mix well with trick or treaters that will trip and fall and possible injure themselves. There is nothing wrong with decorations, just try to make sure you don’t create a hazard at the same time.

All of the things outlined above can be avoided with planning and supervision. However, all of the things above become more possible when drinking and alcohol are involved. AAA and State Farm consider Halloween night one of the biggest drinking nights of the year and the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians with the rate of pedestrians struck by cars doubling. So please be careful and have fun!


About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


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