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Number of U.S. Kids Injured on Halloween Is Scary

SUNDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night than on any other night of the year, according to experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, the researchers warned that eye trauma from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes are also common Halloween injuries.

"Children should be out having fun and spending time with family and friends. They should not have to spend Halloween in the ER because of some injury that could have been easily prevented," Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in an ACEP news release.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 40 million kids aged 5 to 14 will be keeping up the tradition of knocking on doors on Halloween.

When planning for the big night, the ACEP offers the following tips to adults to help them protect kids from frightful injuries:

  • Local community centers, shopping malls or schools should be encouraged to organize Halloween festivities that allow kids to "trick-or-treat" without walking outside in the dark.
  • If kids do go out at night, make sure they stick to the sidewalks and obey traffic signals.
  • Remind children to stay together in a group with at least one adult chaperone.
  • Be sure children are aware of the potential dangers from strangers, and remind them to stay in familiar areas.
  • Avoid masks that block children's vision and costumes that could cause them to trip, such as baggy pants and high heels.
  • Make sure costume fabrics and accessories are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
  • Keep kids away from candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns.
  • Inspect all candy before children eat it and dispose of anything not in a sealed wrapper.
  • Bring a flashlight while trick-or-treating to increase visibility.
  • Costume accessories, such as wands and swords, should be made from safe, flexible materials and not have any sharp edges.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers more Halloween safety tips.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: American College of Emergency Physicians, news release, Oct. 3, 2011

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