October 25, 2019
KEEP HALLOWEEN SAFETY TOP OF MIND
ThedaCare Provide Explains How to Have a Fun, Safe Halloween
MENASHA, Wis. – Halloween is nearly upon us and wherever you live, kids will be out in droves yelling “Trick-or-Treat” and collecting their bags of goodies. While trick-or-treating should be fun and filled with lasting memories, at times, it can be dangerous.
According to the National Safety Council:
- Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
- In 2017, October ranked second in motor vehicle deaths by month, with 3,700. July saw the greatest number, with 3,830 deaths.
To reduce the chances of tragedy on Halloween, Shannon Sullivan, MD, a family medicine physician with ThedaCare Physicians-Menasha, said safety needs should be put first, not only in regards to driving, but all aspects of the day.
“Plan costumes that are bright and reflective,” she said. “You can consider adding reflective tape to costumes or trick or treat bags for better visibility so drivers can see pedestrians. Make sure costumes are flame resistant. And, children should wear well-fitting costumes and masks to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.”
In some cases, it might be smart to avoid masks entirely. Instead use face paint, if that would fit the rest of the costume. That would keep their vision, including their peripheral vision, free to see what’s happening around them. If any costumes have props that go with them, like swords, wands, etc., make sure they have rubber or soft-pointed ends so as not to hurt someone else or be hurt themselves.
Dr. Sullivan also recommended putting your child’s name in their costume, along with the parent or guardian’s name, address and contact number. This is especially important if you are not accompanying your children.
Caregivers should also remind children that they should carefully look both ways before crossing the street. They should use crosswalks, intersections and traffic signals to safely get across streets and, once across, use sidewalks whenever they are present. Finally, tell them to stay on well-lit streets and to stay off their phones while trick-or-treating.
“Drivers have a responsibility also to make sure kids stay safe,” said Dr. Sullivan. “They should be extra careful during trick-or-treating hours, usually late afternoon and early evening.”
In addition to slowing down and staying off their phones, they should be especially vigilant in residential neighborhoods. Halloween causes children to be excited and they may dart out from in between cars in their anxiousness to cross the street. Slow down and take extra time to watch for kids, especially at intersections and on curbs, and while you’re backing up or entering driveways. Drivers are also advised to turn on their headlights earlier than normal, so kids can see them coming, and drivers can see kids from a greater distance. Know what time your community holds trick-or-treating hours and be extra alert to the danger of children crossing streets during those hours.
When going from house-to-house, children should walk, not run.
“A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children, especially those under the age of 12,” she said. “Have flashlights for children and their escorts. And stay in groups. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat. Remind children to never accept rides from strangers.”
As far as the goodies your kids will be collecting, it’s important to explain to them, no matter how old they are, NOT to eat anything before bringing it home and having it checked over by a parent or other adult.
“Parents should examine all treats for choking hazards or possible allergies to ingredients,” Dr. Sullivan said. “Eat only factory wrapped treats. Do not eat candy that is not properly wrapped or seems to have been tampered with. Avoid homemade treats from strangers. Throw out anything that seems questionable. While we know it is difficult, try to limit the amount of treats your children eat.”
Following these simple, yet important rules can help make it a safe and happy holiday for all the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins — the adult ones, too!
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to a community of more than 600,000 residents in 14 counties and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals. ThedaCare has 180 locations including seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.