Enjoying Halloween is all about the preparation. Finding the ideal costume, decorating the house, planning the route, purchasing the candy and decorating the perfect pumpkin. But along with the fun, there are numerous Halloween injuries. Orthopedic Institute would like to help you stay safe this Halloween with expert advice and tips.
“Unfortunately, every year we see multiple injuries that occur as a result of carving pumpkins,” says Blake Curd, M.D., a fellowship-trained hand surgeon for Orthopedic Institute. “Although fun and enjoyable, it can turn tragic when people are not careful. There are special tools designed for carving pumpkins. Most of them are serrated knives with a plastic handle. I encourage my patients to use those types of tools instead of the standard kitchen knife to avoid raising their risk of injury.”
Statistics from 2007-2011 show the following injuries around Halloween among children 18 years and younger:
- Children, ages 10-14 sustained the greatest portion of injuries at 29 percent
- Head injuries accounted for the greatest portion of injuries at 17 percent followed by finger/hand injuries at 14.2 percent
- Of the finger/hand injuries sustained, 25.6 percent were lacerations and 15.2 percent were Fractures
To help reduce the risk for injury on Halloween, the AAOS and POSNA offer the following safety tips:
- Use a pumpkin carving kit, or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin.
- Children should not carve pumpkins unless supervised closely by an adult. Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for children, may be safe for use with parental supervision. Younger children can use paint, markers or other non-carving decoration kits. Always carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
- Beware of sharp carving tools! If you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, evaluation by a physician might be needed. Make sure cuts are cleaned and dressed with clean bandages.
- Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
- Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. The child’s vision should be unobstructed by masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
- Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well lit. Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
- Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating. Remember that these pets can pose a threat when you approach their home.
- Avoid candles in Halloween decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.
- Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
Have a safe and happy Halloween from Orthopedic Institute.