Halloween is supposed to be scary fun, but it can turn scary in a real way for Florida kids if they are injured. Here are the main reasons that Halloween presents dangers to your child, as well as ways you can offer protection from the most common hazards.
Common Halloween Dangers in Florida
You’ve likely heard stories about people stashing things like razorblades in Halloween candy, and have become vigilant about inspecting their “treats” for hidden dangers. As scary as that danger can be, though, what you may not realize is that your child runs a much higher risk of getting injured by a number of other hazards that you may not have even considered.
Your child’s costume can present a number of different dangers. Number one: it can result in slip and fall injuries like broken bones, neck or spine injuries, or a concussion. Other costume hazards include flammability, blocked breathing ability, and low visibility to drivers.
Here are ways to make sure your child’s costume is safe:
- Dress your child in light colors or use reflective tape to increase visibility. Add a glow stick to your child’s costume to help your child be more visible.
- Give your child a small flashlight to help him or her navigate the path.
- If possible, purchase a costume made of flame-retardant material or make your own costume from polyester or nylon instead of cotton. Long sleeves can pose a fire hazard if your child is near an open flame.
- Make sure that your child’s shoes fit well to avoid tripping and falling, which is more likely with oversized shoes.
- Masks, wigs, and beards can obstruct your child’s breathing passages. Inspect them before your child heads out.
If your child is carrying a cane, staff, stick, or sword, ensure that the items are flexible and not too long to avoid potential injuries.
With so many adults and children on the streets on Halloween night, pedestrian injuries are on the rise. Use these safety tips to avoid slipping and falling or being hit by a car:
- Closely supervise your child if he or she is under the age of 12. Hold your child’s hand when crossing the street, even at an intersection.
- Use crosswalks to cross the street to minimize your chance for injury.
- Obey all traffic signals, paying attention to drivers who may not automatically yield to you.
- Always walk on the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic to increase visibility.
- Carry a flashlight and choose to walk in well-lit areas.
- Stay alert – don’t use your cell phone while walking. Distracted pedestrians are more prone to injury.
- Avoid stepping on wet leaves, cords, equipment or décor that could pose a slip and fall risk.
- Take care when walking near luminaries to avoid a burn injury.
Pumpkin carving is a fun Halloween tradition, but it can easily present an injury risk if not properly executed. Here are tips to keep it a safe experience:
- Make sure your child is old enough to handle a knife without supervision. This will typically apply to tweens and teens who have had prior experience using kitchen knives. Plan to do the carving on behalf of younger children.
- Cover your working surfaces and floor with newspaper or drop cloth to catch the slick pumpkin insides. This preparation can help you avoid slipping and falling.
- To greatly reduce your risk of injury, choose to decorate the outside of your pumpkin with paint, glitter, stickers, or craft materials rather than carving your pumpkin.
- Use battery-powered LED lights to light up your carved pumpkin rather than open flames.
- If you choose to use a candle, a tea light is the safest option. Make sure to place your lighted pumpkin far away from flammable materials.
Choking probably isn’t something that even crosses your mind when you think about Halloween safety, but when a lot of eating is going on, it always merits consideration. Here’s what you can do:
- Your child will most likely want to eat a few pieces of candy before returning home. Either make a rule that no candy can be eaten before you return home or supervise your child as he or she eats a few pieces.
- As you sort your child’s candy stash, remove any hard pieces that could pose a choking risk to a child under 6 years of age.
If Your Child Is Injured This Halloween
If your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds to file for compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
Make sure that your child receives medical treatment for a Halloween injury, no matter how minor it appears. Some injuries don’t show up right away yet require months of therapy.
Consult with an experienced Florida child injury attorney if you have questions about seeking compensation for your child’s Halloween injury.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.