The Law Blog of Oklahoma

The Scariest Part of Halloween: Halloween Injuries

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2016


On Halloween night, many Oklahoma children will take to the streets for trick-or-treating. For some of those children--and even adults--the greatest fear of the night may be encountering a creepy clown. However, the real risks on Halloween come not from boogeymen and monsters, but from common accidents that can cause serious injury or death.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), Halloween injuries are common. AAOS spokesperson and orthopedic surgeon Kevin G. Shea, MD, states, "The most common Halloween injuries we see are severe hand injuries from pumpkin carving and leg and extremity injuries due to falls from long costumes and/or costumes that impair vision." He further explains, "It’s a scary thing when individuals are ill equipped with safety rules such as wearing dark costumes without reflectors, or using the wrong tools to carve a pumpkin. By familiarizing yourself with safety tips, you decrease your chances for injuries."

The AAOS cites a 2010 study in the journal Pediatrics in reporting that Halloween has the fourth highest ER visit rate among holidays. The greatest number of injuries were finger and hand injuries (17.6 percent), with hand injuries including both lacerations and fractures. Children aged 10-14 are the most at-risk group, with more than 30 percent of Halloween injuries occurring in this age group.

And while pumpkin-carving accidents, trips and falls, and even burns can be serious risks during Halloween, the holiday is particularly dangerous for young pedestrians.

A joint study between State Farm and Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and determined that Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. An average of 5.5 children are killed in pedestrian accidents each Halloween, compared to an average of 2.6 child pedestrian deaths each other day of the year. In other words, on Halloween, children are killed in pedestrian accidents at a rate nearly twice the average for the rest of the year.

Nearly one quarter of these fatal child pedestrian accidents occur at dusk--in the hour between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.

The National Safety Council offers the following safety tips for children, parents, and motorists on Halloween:

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing

Trick-or-Treating

  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and avoid trick-or-treating alone
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
  • Teach your children to never enter a stranger's home

Costumes

  • All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant
  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags to make sure they are visible
  • When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first
  • Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation

The attorneys and staff at the Law Firm of Oklahoma wish you a safe, happy, and fun-filled Halloween.

Image credit: aotaro


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