Be Safe This Halloween

Halloween safety picAutumn in Indiana brings crisp, fall air, changing and colorful leaves, bonfires, and community and school festivals.  For some, this change in seasonal weather is one of the best on the calendar.  Crunchy leaves under foot, children in colorful costumes, and the smell of fall is a reminder of another season coming to an end.  But the Halloween holiday and the autumn season is about much more than candy, colorful costumes, and carving pumpkins.

Unfortunately for many, this time of year is just another painful reminder of a loved one who suffered a personal injury while participating in the traditional door-to-door candy collection or other festivities. The Halloween celebrations place many children on the streets after dark, at a time they would not normally be present.  To make matters worse, many families travel to unfamiliar neighborhoods to gather as much candy as possible.  The children are not aware of the traffic patterns, busy streets, or dark intersections that put them at greater risk for injury.

According to safekids.org, Indiana youth are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other time of the year.  While the over-all incidents of injuries has decreased over the years, there are still far too many injuries that occur during the Halloween season, third only to New Years and 4th of July.

Thankfully, there are a number of safety tips that parents can follow to offer a safer Halloween experience for their children.

For instance, parents should always be alert to the restricted vision that their children experience when wearing full-face masks.  Many store-bought costumes come with face-covering masks of ghosts, witches, political figures, and ghouls.  The small eye holes and the ill-fitting masks can make it difficult for children to safely see their surroundings, putting them at risk for injury.

Daylight hours end early in late October in Indiana. This means that most Halloween candy collecting occurs in the dark.  Parents should attach reflective tape to their children’s costumes, making them more visible to drivers.  The children should also carry a working flashlight that alerts drivers to their location.

One often overlooked safety factor is importance of fire-resistant costumes.  This is a time of year when back-yard torches, cookouts, and decorative pumpkins leave a child exposed to open flame.  When wearing costumes that might be over-sized, or wigs that might extend the perimeter of their head, the child might not know to stay further away from the flame.  Burn injuries are quite common this time of year and finding an outfit that offers more protection is critical.

Finally, parents should carve pumpkins with great caution.  Sharp knives and the unyielding flesh of a pumpkin are a bad combination.  Many children suffer severe cuts each year while carving pumpkins. Little children should be allowed to draw faces on their pumpkins but should never be given a knife for any reason, even Halloween decorations.

Halloween can be a fun time for all involved but the holiday can result in tragic injuries, even for those who were careful to prepare.  If you or one you love has been injured because of another person’s inattention or negligence, contact the Indiana personal injury attorneys of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP.  Our attorneys have helped families from around the state in their personal injury claims.  Contact them today.