On October 31 each year, we usually see a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that make up what is commonly referred to as Halloween.
The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the Halloween of today. Whatever shapes our Halloween traditions, and no matter what we may believe about the holiday’s origin, most people tend to agree with the importance of keeping everyone safe, and especially children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that the most children visit the hospital on Halloween due to eye injuries from sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes, and injuries from collisions with vehicles. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center offers some helpful tips this fall.
Pick Costumes Wisely:
- Look for flame-resistant materials for costumes
- Avoid costumes with sharp objects attached to masks or the body of a costume
- Make sure Halloween masks don’t impair full vision
- Apply non-toxic face paint or cosmetics as an alternative to masks
- Dress children in highly visible colors
- Give kids flashlights to carry
- Allow children to travel only in familiar areas
- Attach each child’s name, address and phone number to their clothes in case they become separated from adults
- Do not allow children to eat any treats until they’ve been sorted and checked by an adult at home
- Throw candy away if it appears to have been unwrapped and re-wrapped, or appears suspicious in any way
- Do not allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard or that have small parts or components that could separate during use
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that during 1975-1996, the number of deaths among young pedestrians was four times higher on Halloween evening when compared with the same time period during all other evenings of the year. Halloween poses special risks to young pedestrians. For example, most of the time children spend outdoors is typically during daylight hours. However, Halloween activities often occur after dark. Also, children engaged in “trick or treat” activities frequently cross streets at mid-block rather than at corners or crosswalks, putting them at risk for pedestrian injury.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for everyone, but don’t forget to be safe. [audio:http://hospitalstay.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/02-Halloween-Parade-1.mp3|titles=Halloween Parade]