Green Bay — Halloween is an exciting time of year for children, as they dress up in creative costumes, carve up pumpkins and gather lots of sweets. But while it can be an enjoyable experience, it isn’t without its preventable, safety risks. HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital and Prevea Health encourage parents to become familiar with basic safety tips to make sure their kids stay safe on Halloween.
“A lot of the Halloween general warnings focus on candy safety, but a bigger risk to kids now comes from the traffic on the street,” noted Dr. Thomas Huffer, Executive Medical Director at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital and Prevea Health pediatrician. “Candy should still be checked for food allergies and tampering or choking hazards for smaller children, and I encourage parents to ration the candy, so kids aren’t eating it all in one night.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. To help kids stay safe during trick-or-treating, here are some tips for parents from the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Fasten reflective tape to children’s costumes and bags or give them glow sticks or a flashlight to carry.
- Accompany young children (12 and under) on their trick-or-treating rounds in the neighborhood.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you and agree on a specific time they should return home.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends.
- Teach your children never to enter a stranger's home or car.
- Children and adults alike should put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk (not run) across the street only at corners or crosswalks.
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home so that you can check the candy to make sure it is wrapped as well as to help avoid any food allergies.
Drivers who are out and about on Halloween night need to be cautious and watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Particularly, drivers should enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully and keep an eye out for children in dark clothing at twilight and later in the evening. The NSC also suggests that any new, inexperienced drivers should be discouraged from driving when trick-or-treating is occurring in the community.
For those staying home and handing out treats, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has the following tips to ensure a safe environment for trick-or-treaters:
- Remove tripping hazards to keep your home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters. Keep the porch and front yard clear of anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs to ensure good visibility.
- Sweep wet leaves from sidewalks and steps to prevent anyone from slipping on them.
- Keep your pets in another room when you are expecting trick-or-treaters.
Finally, when it comes to the tradition of pumpkin carving, don’t allow small children to carve pumpkins with sharp utensils. Instead, they should draw a face with markers. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects and they should never be left unattended. Do not place candlelit pumpkins or decorations on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. Another safer option is to use an electric candle, flashlight or glow stick to light the pumpkin.
By following these tips, you can help ensure your family has a safe and Happy Halloween. Additional Halloween safety tips are available at:
About HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital
Located inside the walls of HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wis., HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is Green Bay’s first and only children’s hospital. With every detail tailored to kids, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital delivers exceptional health care to children while making them feel comfortable and supported. As a partner of Prevea Health, it has direct access to dedicated pediatricians and a wide variety of specialty care physicians. HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is also a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, the voice for more than 220 children’s hospitals nationwide. For more information about HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, visit: www.stvincentchildrenshospital.org
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
About Prevea Health
Founded in Green Bay, Wis. in 1996, Prevea Health is a health care organization that provides high-quality, primary and specialty health care in 80+ locations across Northern, Eastern and Western Wisconsin in clinic and hospital settings. It is partnered with six Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) hospitals across Wisconsin to provide patients a system of highly-coordinated care, close to home: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls; HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. For more information, visit www.prevea.com.