Halloween Safety Tips That Are No Trick: Orthopaedic Surgeons offer Halloween Injury Prevention Tips

by TOI Admin October 31, 2011

Halloween is a fun-filled holiday when kids can enjoy activities such as trick-or-treating for candy, dressing up in costumes and pumpkin carving. While Halloween is filled with fun tricks and treats, The Orthopaedic Institute reminds families to stay safe with the following recommendations from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
In a nine-year study that examined holiday-related pediatric emergency room visits between 1997 and 2006, revealed Halloween as one of the top three holidays producing the most ER visits:
• Finger and hand injuries accounted for the greatest portion of injuries on Halloween at 17.6 percent
• Of the finger and hand injuries sustained on Halloween, 33.3 percent were lacerations and 20.1 percent were fractures.
• Children ages 10-14 sustained the greatest portion of injuries at 30.3 percent.
Source: D'Ippolito A, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of pediatric holiday-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments. Pediatrics. 2010 May;125(5):931-7.
To prevent injuries this Halloween, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests the following safety tips:
• Never let children carve pumpkins. Adults carving pumpkins should remember to use specifically designed carving knives, rather than kitchen knives, as they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin. Carve the pumpkin in small, controlled strokes, away from oneself on a strong, sturdy surface.
• Carving knives should be kept in a clean, dry, well-lit area. Any moisture on the tools, hands, or table can cause the knife to slip, leading to injuries.
• Should a pumpkin carver cut a finger or hand, make sure the hand is elevated higher than the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be necessary. Additionally, it may be wise to follow-up with a hand surgeon to make sure everything is okay and nothing needs repair.
• Be considerate of fire hazards when lighting jack-o-lantern candles or use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights. Alternatively, try painting pumpkins for a fun, creative option and removes the risks of carving.
• Halloween costumes should be light and bright, so children are clearly visible to motorists and other pedestrians. Trim costumes and bags with reflective tape that glows in the dark.
• Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. Be sure the child’s vision is unobstructed from masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, trim or hem their costumes as necessary.
• Children should wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
• It is important that children walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. They should also obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
• Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well lit. Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
• Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating and remember that these pets can impose a threat when you approach their home.
• It’s also a good idea to carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
Source: AAOS-http://www6.aaos.org/news/pemr/releases/release.cfm?releasenum=932


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