Tomorrow is Halloween, and thousands of Oklahoma children will take the streets in search of treats from friends and neighbors. For most children, Halloween is a night of fun and fantasy, when they are able to dress up as their favorite characters and to collect as much candy as they can carry. Unfortunately, for a number of children, the night will end in tragedy. Halloween injuries and deaths are common. In fact, some statistics show that children aged 5-14 are four times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident on Halloween than on any other night of the year. However, pedestrian accidents are not the only cause of serious injury on Halloween night. According to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and Prevention 1st, the leading causes of child injury on Halloween night include:
- Pedestrian accidents from collisions with motor vehicles.
- Eye injuries from sharp costume props.
- Burn injuries from flammable costumes.
Though urban legends tell of poisoned candy and razor blades hidden in treats, these sinister acts of malice are seldom something to worry about. The real causes of child injury on Halloween are much more common and preventable. Tripping over a costume that is too big or stumbling on a poorly lit walkway can cause traumatic brain injury or other fall injury. Unsafe monitoring of candles, jack-o-lanterns, and other Halloween decor can lead to burn injuries. And perhaps most devastating, children wearing dark costumes without reflective surfaces may be hit by a car.
The AAP offers some tips to prevent the three most common causes of Halloween injury:
- Young children should always be accompanied by a parent or adult.
- Trick-or-treaters and their adults should carry flashlights, and costumes should include reflective tape to improve visibility.
- Walkers should remain on sidewalks and only cross streets at crosswalks or corners. If no sidewalks are available, pedestrians should walk close to the curb, facing traffic. Do not dart across the street.
- Do not wear masks, hats, or wigs that obscure vision.
- Use soft, flexible props that are not too long or sharp.
- Make sure all costumes and accessories are made of flame-resistant material.
- Use glow sticks or battery operated lights in place of candles in jack-o-lanterns.
- Do not leave candles or jack-o-lanterns unattended, and keep them away from curtains, plants, or other flammable objects.
Adequate safety precautions can reduce the risk of child injury or death on Halloween. However, some injuries may occur despite a parent's best efforts. Defective products such as unsafe costumes or Halloween decor may cause injury, and reckless, distracted, or intoxicated drivers pose a hazard to pedestrians despite the trick-or-treaters' visibility and safety precautions. If your child is injured as a result of someone else's negligence, you may be able to receive financial compensation from any parties deemed liable for the accident and resulting injuries. Click here to find a child injury lawyer in Oklahoma who can help with your case.