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Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital offers Halloween safety tips

Oct. 23, 2003, 9:29 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Andrea Bracikowski, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, says parents should be aware children are far more likely to suffer injury from a fall, or impact with an auto on Halloween than to have their candy tampered with.

"Many hospitals X-ray candy bags, but that’s just not necessary, since tampering is easily avoided by inspecting wrappers and trick-or-treating in neighborhoods you know well," said Bracikowski. "Injuries are more common, but are preventable."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Safety Council (NSC), roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year. Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.

Children should:

  • Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches.
  • Travel in small groups accompanied by an adult.
  • Know their own phone number
  • Have their names and addresses attached to costumes.
  • Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect all
    candy.

When walking in neighborhoods, they should:

  • Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks, and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before
    crossing.
  • Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.)
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over the child’s eyes.
  • Avoid wearing baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
  • Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Media Contact: Carole H. Bartoo, (615) 322-4747 Carole.bartoo@vanderbilt.edu

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