Thursday, 22 July 2010 7:29 P.M.
Safety Tips That Are No Trick: Orthopaedic Surgeons offer Halloween
Injury Prevention Tips
Ill. -- Every Halloween, kids across the country parade
neighborhoods in search of the most glorious prize: candy. The build-up
for Halloween is almost as exciting as the day itself with pre-Halloween
festivities like pumpkin-picking, pumpkin carving and selecting
the perfect costume for the big day. And though the holiday calls
for fun, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) stresses
the importance of taking proper precautions to avoid injuries this
A nine-year study examined holiday-related pediatric emergency
room visits between 1997 and 2006. Results of this study show Halloween
among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits:
injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries on
Halloween (17.6 percent).
- Of the
finger/hand injuries sustained on Halloween, 33.3 percent were
lacerations and 20.1 percent were fractures.
ages 10-14 sustained the greatest proportion of injuries (30.3
D'Ippolito A, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of pediatric
holiday-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments.
Pediatrics. 2010 May;125(5):931-7.
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS SAFETY TIPS:
let children carve pumpkins. Adults carving pumpkins should remember
to use specifically designed carving knives, rather than kitchen
knives, as they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin
skin. Carve the pumpkin in small, controlled strokes, away from
oneself on a strong, sturdy surface.
knives should be kept in a clean, dry, well-lit area. Any moisture
on the tools, hands, or table can cause the knife to slip, leading
a pumpkin carver cut a finger or hand, make sure the hand is elevated
higher than the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with
a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does
not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room
visit may be necessary. Additionally, it may be wise to follow-up
with a hand surgeon to make sure everything is okay and nothing
- Be considerate
of fire hazards when lighting jack-o-lantern candles or use non-flammable
light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.
Alternatively, try painting pumpkins for a fun, creative option
and removes the risks of carving.
costumes should be light and bright, so children are clearly visible
to motorists and other pedestrians. Trim costumes and bags with
reflective tape that glows in the dark.
should be flame-resistant and fit properly. Be sure the child’s
vision is unobstructed from masks, face paint or hats. Costumes
that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, trim or hem
their costumes as necessary.
should wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid
- It is
important that children walk on sidewalks and never cut across
yards or driveways. They should also obey all traffic signals
and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
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 and remember that
these pets can impose a threat when you approach their home.
also a good idea to carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating
in case of an emergency.
EXPERT ADVICE: “It’s so important to realize that
there is a wrong way to carve a pumpkin! You should always use a
carving knife, carve away from the body and never rush. It’s
possible to cut tendons, particularly when your finger slides down
the knife and the knife gets stuck in the pumpkin” said Elizabeth
A. Ouellette, MD. “For this reason, children and adults should
not carve pumpkins with kitchen knives. Besides the potential dangers
from pumpkin carving, parents and kids need to be aware of their
surroundings, and instinctually participate in activities safely,
no matter the holiday.”
the AAOS at http://www.aaos.org
AAOS on http://Facebook.com/AAOS1
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons