Dr. Kristi Trussell is the assistant medical director of The Urgency Room in Woodbury, Eagan and Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Halloween can be a scary night! I mean that in a not-so-good way.
As a physician at The Urgency Room in Woodbury I see lots of frightening, yet preventable, injuries on this holiday. Here's a look at the top safety concerns and practical tips to help you protect your little goblins this Halloween:
Check that costume
Is it too long and posing a tripping hazard? Is your child wearing a mask that obstructs his or her vision? At The Urgency Room we see plenty of wrist and ankle fractures among children who trip over their costume or fall because they can't see properly out of their mask. Be careful with shoes too. Tiny sparkly high heels may look great with your young lady's princess costume, but tennis shoes are a smarter and safer option.
Be careful with cheap makeup
Rashes are common after Halloween from cheap makeup layered heavily on a child's face, for example. Make sure to wash all makeup off right after you're done trick-or treating.
Lit pumpkins are a fire hazard
When a group of kids pile onto a front step, next to a lit jack-o-lantern, it's not uncommon for a loose costume to catch a flame. For younger kids it is the risk of fingers getting burned when trying to touch or find the source of a flame in that "really cool looking pumpkin." Try to use battery operated votives to protect children and eliminate fire hazards.
Also, be very careful when carving pumpkins at home. Always supervise children as pumpkins are hard to cut (even for adults) and many end up cutting themselves unintentionally.
Watch for cars and dogs
Children running from house to house in dark costumes during the evening: it's a recipe for disaster. Make sure you are holding your child's hand and using sidewalks. Take lots of flashlights and you can even layer glow sticks onto the costume. The brighter the better.
Also, be careful of dogs. Don't approach a dog without asking the owner. Sometimes a child walking toward a dog in a costume can spook the animal. Always use caution and when in doubt, stay away from pets you do not know.
Tootsie Roll (and other candy) risk
Beware of children eating candy while trick-or-treating and running from home to home, which poses a choking threat. Once the candy comes home, make sure to look through it. Throw out any opened candy. Also, beware of choking hazards to younger siblings. A Tootsie Roll is about the size of a young child's trachea and a real choking hazard. So are jawbreakers and other small hard candies.