Research from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) shows between 2007 and 2016, more than 704,000 injuries were reported in U.S. emergency departments among children 18 and younger on and around Halloween. Common injuries included head and hand injuries.
“It’s essential that parents talk to kids about the importance of safety while trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods,” said pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson L. Reid Boyce Nichols, MD. “A common danger is traffic. Both children and adults should always be aware of their surroundings, avoid distracted walking and watch out for traffic.”
The AAOS and POSNA offer the following trick-or-treating safety tips:
- Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
- Bright-colored costumes make it easier for children to be seen at dusk or in the dark. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to provide additional visibility.
- Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. The child’s vision should be unobstructed by masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
- Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well-lit.
- Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen. Do not point your flashlight above chest level to avoid obstructing the vision of other trick-or-treaters.
- Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating, and remember that pets can impose a threat when you approach their homes.
- Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
- Children should always be supervised by an adult.