Halloween is filled with ghost, goblins, and monsters but what’s really scary is the increase in injuries that come into the office during the fall season. The injuries can range from falling whether- it be from a ladder, tripping or slipping from ill-fitting costume, or stepping into a hole when running from house to house, to lacerations from carving a pumpkin. As much as we love visiting with you we hope it’s around town than in the clinical setting. We’ve compiled a couple tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery (AAOS) and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) to keep you from the terrifying bone doctor.
Research from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) shows that during 2007-2015:
- Halloween was the holiday with the fifth highest number of emergency room visits among children 18 and younger behind Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Easter.
- Head injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries on Halloween (17.6 percent)
- Of the finger/hand injuries sustained, 23.6 percent were lacerations.
- Children under age 5 (28.8 percent) and children ages 10-14 (28.5 percent) sustained the greatest proportion of injuries.
- Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.
- Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. The child’s vision should be unobstructed by masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
- Trick-or-treaters 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. Remember that these pets can pose a threat when you approach their home.
- Avoid candles in Halloween decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.
- Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
- Use a pumpkin carving kit, or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin.
- Children should not carve pumpkins unless supervised closely by an adult. Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for children, may be safe for use with parental supervision.
- Younger children can use paint, markers or other non-carving decoration kits. Always carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
- Beware of sharp carving tools! If you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, evaluation by a physician might be needed. Make sure cuts are cleaned and dressed with clean bandages.
Fall is a great time of year for fun, fantasy, and freaky Fridays. Safety is the last thing on your mind when having a good time. That’s where we step in. We want to give you information now so you won’t have to worry later. Make sure those costumes don’t inhibit your walking and if they do, slow down and watch where you step and remain in well-lit areas to avoid stepping in a hole. For the young ones consider decorating a pumpkin rather than carving it. They last longer and hand injuries can become serious quite easily. If you decide to carve a pumpkin consider only using the tools provided in a kit- they are less likely to lacerate the hand and fingers. For carving a pumpkin- sharper is not always better.
Accidents always happen, so if something happens to you or a loved one. Save yourself an ER trip and visit our Urgent Care at the Overland park office. It is open from 3:00- to 8:00 pm.
By Stephanie Jones