Eskenazi Health Advises Caution During Halloween Festivities

Indianapolis, Oct. 29, 2018 – Ghosts, goblins, creepy costumes and haunted houses are all traditional aspects of the Halloween season, but while enjoying the fun and scary aspects of Halloween, experts at Eskenazi Health encourage everyone to be on the lookout for the all too real and harmful incidences that occur this time of year.

Although Halloween provides countless opportunities for fun, parents should remain vigilant to ensure everyone has a happy and safe Halloween experience, especially in regards to road and pedestrian safety.

In 2015, about 6,700 pedestrian deaths and 160,000 medically-consulted injuries occurred among pedestrians in motor vehicle incidents, according to Injury Facts, the statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council (NSC). Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. In 2017, October ranked No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths  by month, with 3,700. July is No. 1, with 3,830 deaths.

NSC research reveals about 17 percent of these deaths occurred when pedestrians improperly crossed roads or intersections. Lack of visibility because of low lighting or dark clothing accounted for about 15 percent of the deaths. Other circumstances varied by age: Darting or running into the road accounted for about 15 percent of deaths in kids ages 5 to 9 and 7 percent for those 10 to 15.

"Parents should accompany their trick-or-treaters and always use extreme caution while enjoying Halloween festivities,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “We recommend reflective material be applied to all Halloween costumes and we encourage everyone do all they can to remain safe during this festive and potentially dangerous holiday season.”

To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a list of Halloween safety tips, including dos and don'ts:

  • A responsible adult should accompany young children
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you
  • Agree on a specific time children should return home
  • Teach your children to never enter a stranger's home or car
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
  • All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant
  • Avoid masks, which can obstruct vision
  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them flashlights or glow sticks
  • 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

Motorists should watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs, and also keep a sharp lookout for children wearing dark clothing.

For those parents and children planning to venture out for trick-or-treating, official hours for the City of Indianapolis are between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Parents should wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.


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