Let's start with the CARS because they are the most lethal:
- With 41 million trick or treaters in the streets this year, drunk drivers and drinking parents who are supervising their Halloween'ers are the most lethal problems.
- When Halloween falls on a Saturday, more kids will be out later and more drunk drivers will be out on the road. As a result, there will be more alcohol-related arrests and more kids will die.
- There's a council that monitors this kind of data and they say that there will be 4.5% more alcohol-related arrests than if Halloween were to take place on another day of the week.
- The council also says that your kid will be more than twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night than any other time of the year.
- Kids will be hit most frequently between 4 and 10 p.m. and during the sunset period.
- They will also most likely be hit when they are NOT in a crosswalk.
Moving on to CUTS...
Have you heard of Brad Gruner? Well, he was the starting quarterback for the University of New Mexico and last Halloween, he was carving his pumpkin and sliced into a tendon in his pinkie and he was out for the entire season for multiple surgeries and rehab. Where do you want to be on Halloween? In the ER or grabbin' up goodies?
- Most "carving" accidents occur with kids who are 10-14 years old. Just because they are teens, does not mean they are competent to carve a pumpkin.
- Do not use kitchen knives. Use specialized pumpkin carving tools because they are smaller and are not razor sharp.
- Keep the tools, the pumpkin and the area dry.
- Keep the work area well-lit.
- Leave the top on the pumpkin so you can stabilize it and so you don't accidentally cut the hand that you've put inside the pumpkin.
- If someone gets cut and the bleeding doesn't stop in 15 minutes, you need help at either the ER or an urgent care center.
- Options for pumpkins include dressing them up in vegetables! So fun! Just Google...Vegetable-decorated pumpkins and see all of the great options and the hilarious results. We did this when The Kid was 4 and we had the best time. Also, when the pumpkins start to "droop", put them outside for the night creatures to feed on. Urban wildlife will have a blast and a healthy meal!!
And finally, COMMERCIALISM:
- Be careful about buying face paint and make up from China because it's likely to contain lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium (think Erin Brokovich lawsuit). Not good for any age body!
- Buy high quality brand glow sticks because if the're less likely to break. If they do break, the liquid gets into kids' eyes and they may get it into their mouths. Buy the sturdiest glow sticks possible. Glow stick injuries might be best dealt with by calling poison control if it's not a cut.
- We'll be spending $9 billion on Halloween this year!!
- Make sure their masks and costumes aren't trip hazards. No matter their age, they need to see where they are walking and not fall down. Some car accidents are related to kids "falling" into the streets because of costumes.
- $13 million in fire damage occurs, on average, every Halloween due to decorations catching on fire due to unattended candles.
- Poison candy is not the issue, choking hazards are the issue. Have a stash of your kids' favorite goodies and swap out that candy they may choke on with their most favorite candy. You'll get less "push back" if you do.
- Eye injuries from plastic swords, daggers, wands, crowns, etc. can be quite serious.
- Princess shoes that come with costumes (I never had to deal with this, so it's a new concept to me) are not meant for walking down dark streets, so be prepared with sneakers when your little princess starts to complain. They are certainly trip hazards!
- Put fresh batteries into "serious" flashlights and charge up your cell phones before you go out. Always know exactly where you are so you can call the police if there are threatening people around you.
Be prepared with first aid supplies including Syrup of Ipecac (vomit-inducing) and first aid knowledge. If you have a problem, be prepared to deal with it at home. Don't ruin the holiday because you're not prepared and you're not informed.
Kids are way too excited and jacked-up on sugar to remember the follow the rules, so it's on you. Don't drink, be alert and assume every car on the road is being driven by someone who's drunk. Believe that they are all out to kill you and your kids and conduct yourself accordingly.
Let's get everyone home alive and well this Halloween!
Be careful out there! And most of all, make memories you will enjoy for a lifetime.
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