Halloween Doesn’t Need to be a Frightening Night with Safety Advice from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

October 27, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA - October 27, 2014 - Halloween is an exciting time for children to dress up and go trick-or-treating, but parents need to be aware that it can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is offering safety tips for families so an injury doesn't spoil the fun.

Every Halloween, vehicles pose one of the greatest dangers, so the Injury Prevention team at Children's Hospital urges children to watch out for cars. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than twice as many kids are killed in pedestrian/vehicle incidents from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween than on any other day of the year in the same timeframe. Parents need to supervise young children during trick-or-treating and use safe pedestrian actions themselves as a good example to children.

"We don't want parents to take their kids on an unexpected trip to the emergency department on Halloween, so they need to be extremely cautious and teach their children about pedestrian safety before they go out trick-or-treating," said Barbara Gaines, M.D., director, Trauma and Injury Prevention at Children's Hospital. "Drivers need to be aware as kids are potentially everywhere, and can dart out between parked cars or at the end of a driveway unexpectedly. The best choice is to just keep the car at home and not drive."

Another safety hazard during Halloween is costume choice, so parents and kids also should be cautious when choosing a costume. Be sure costumes fit well. If the costume is too long or too big, kids will have trouble maneuvering uneven pavement and steps, and can more easily lose their balance and fall. Also, if trick-or-treating is in the evening, place reflective tape on costumes or make sure they are brightly colored, so kids can stay visible. Non-toxic face paint also is a good alternative to masks, especially for the younger crowd. 

Finally, remember the weather. Costumes that are loose enough to allow for layers underneath are usually most successful, especially if the temperature turns unseasonably warm or cold.

Children's also offers some additional safety tips for parents during Halloween:

  • Use a flashlight in the evening and walk — don't run!
  • Instruct children not to eat any treats until they get home and an adult has checked them. Make sure the candy is not homemade and also throw out unwrapped treats or anything that looks like it may have been opened or tampered with.
  • Keep your home well lit for trick-or-treaters.
  • Clear walkways and pathways around your home.

For more information and safety tips for the Halloween holiday, please visit www.chp.edu/besafe.

Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254, andrea.kunicky@chp.edu  

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919, marc.lukasiak@chp.edu