Before your little goblins head out the door this Halloween, be sure your family is following best practices for keeping everyone safe.
The American Academy of Pediatrics makes the following recommendations:
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly so they don't slide over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin.
Do not use decorative contact lenses. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," using decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
If you do opt for a candlelit pumpkin decoration, be ready to respond in case of a burn emergency.
Emergency Care: Thermal Burns
Most thermal burns are minor in nature and may only require basic care. However, more serious burns require additional care.
When a burn occurs, make sure the situation is safe for you to help. If smoldering or flames are present, immediately direct a child to stop, drop, and roll. Smother the burning material with a coat, rug, or blanket, or douse the material with water.
Activate EMS if you think the burn is severe or you are unsure. Carefully expose burned areas by removing clothing and any jewelry. If needed, carefully cut clothing away. If clothing is stuck to the burn, cut around it.
Cool a burn with cool or cold water as quickly as possible. Early cooling can reduce pain and minimize the risk and depth of burn injury. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Use a clean, cool or cold dressing as an alternative when water is not available. Never use ice or a frozen compress to cool a burn. There are also burn dressings, presoaked with a specially formulated gel, to promote cooling of the burn.
After cooling, separate burned fingers or toes with sterile dressings or pads. To improve healing, leave any blisters intact. Loosely cover a serious burn with a dry, clean pad or clean sheet to help keep it clean and protected.
Avoid natural burn remedies such as honey or potato peels. Never apply butter, ointment, lotion, or antiseptic to a serious burn.
For more Halloween safety tips and emergency care, see our blog post, Halloween Candy and Choking Hazards.
Stay safe out there!