Halloween might be the time of year where you invite in the ghouls and goblins, but all in good fun.
Unfortunately, Halloween tends to turn into more than just a night of festivities – it is also one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency rooms.
Injuries on Halloween are common. And while you cannot prevent other people from acting negligently, being aware of the risks out there might help prevent you and your family from joining the crowds at your local ER.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Chicago ERs for Halloween?
Injuries on Halloween night take quite the range but might include minor lacerations, tummy aches from too much candy, or injuries from a rowdy night. Some injuries are more common than others. And by knowing what those injuries are, you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Cuts, scrapes, and severe lacerations are a common reason for ER visits on Halloween night. Whether it is an accident during pumpkin carving or a trip and fall, these injuries can be painful for any age.
If you are carving pumpkins with the family, leave the actual carving to an adult. Children should not use knives or carving tools, because it is easy for the blade to slip and cut their hand instead.
Have children participate in the safer activities of pumpkin carving, like scooping out the seeds, tracing designs with a marker, or painting the exterior of their pumpkin.
Unfortunately, burns are a common threat for all ages on Halloween, including full house fires.
The most common reason for burns on Halloween come from those flowing costumes, long wigs, and capes. Anyone using live candle flames in their pumpkins or for part of their Halloween décor runs the risk of causing a fire.
When buying your child’s costume, opt for one made from a synthetic material, like nylon or polyester. Anything made from 100 percent cotton is likely to catch fire and burn quickly.
Also, masks, wigs, and beards should be flame retardant.
In your home, use LED candles that simulate the look and feel of a real candle but without the risks. While your children trick-or-treat, teach them to avoid walking next to a live flame and to be aware of where their costume drapes.
Basic safety precautions tend to go out the door when Halloween hits.
You teach your children to not run with sharp objects. But on Halloween when costumes come equipped with knives and swords, it is easy to forget that basic necessity and run around with the pointy end facing up.
The most common reason for eye injuries comes from being poked by a sharp object – usually a costume prop. However, it is not the only reason eye injuries come to the ER on Halloween night.
Other causes of eye injuries include:
- Contacts: Using cat-eye or colorful contacts can lead to serious eye injuries. They irritate the eye, and someone inexperienced with using contacts might scratch their cornea trying to put one in or take it out.
- Glittering Makeup: On an average day, you wouldn’t buy cheap eye makeup. On Halloween, you might pick up those bargain-bin glitter eye makeup products to complete the look of your costume. However, not all of those Halloween makeup products use cosmetic-grade glitter. In fact, some contain craft-grade glitter which can irritate the eyes and cause permanent eye damage.
Always make sure the eye makeup you buy is non-toxic. Also, do not let your children wear cosmetic contacts – regardless of the costume’s demand for it. If you use decorative contacts for your costume, purchase contacts from a contact supplier and not a costume supplier.
One injury parents and trick-or-treaters are unaware of is dehydration. Halloween is a time for rushing around, last-minute shopping, going to events, and hurrying out the door for candy. All of the rushings leave little time for hydrating.
Make sure you and your children drink water throughout the day. Also, everyone should have a glass of water before they head out to trick-or-treat. Even when the temperatures are not hot, the physical exertion of walking and rushing around is enough to dehydrate the body – especially if you did not get enough water in the day.
Also, know the signs of dehydration and keep an eye out for them. Some common indicators of dehydration include:
- Dark colored urine or not needing to urinate during the day
- Extremely dry skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Sleepiness or lack of energy
- Confusion or unexplained irritability
- Fainting – in severe cases
Trips and Falls
Everything from uneven sidewalks at the neighbor’s house, to walking through the grass, to costumes that are too long, all creates the perfect storm for a serious trip and fall injury.
Trips, slips, and falls can cause acute pain and serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
You can protect yourself, your children, and visitors to your home by doing the following:
- Remove Tripping Hazards: Make sure your home is trick-or-treater ready by removing any potential hazards. As the homeowner, you are required to correct trip, slip, and fall hazards in a reasonable amount of time. If you have uneven walkways leading up to the door, consider moving your candy bucket to the driveway where children can avoid going to the door entirely. Also, make sure any Halloween decorations you use do not block the walkway or create tripping hazards (like cords crossing the sidewalk or decorations making it hard to enter the porch area).
- Trim the Costume: If your child has a baggy or oversized costume, trim or hem the edges so that nothing drags on the ground. If it drags, it can become caught under their shoes or someone else’s and lead to a severe fall.
- Consider Visibility when Using Masks: Your child’s costume might require a mask to complete the look, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo the basic need to see. Use masks that do not obstruct their vision. You may need to open eye holes further if they are too small for your child to see around them.
Car accidents are plentiful on Halloween night. Drivers and pedestrians both need to be aware of the risks while walking around from house-to-house or even driving to their destination.
Starting at about 4:00 pm, trick-or-treaters will enter the streets – and most people are driving home from work with limited visibility. As the sun sets, it blocks your vision, making it hard for pedestrians to see oncoming vehicles and drivers to see pedestrians in the roadway.
When nearing intersections and crosswalks, both parties should enter cautiously and be aware of the limited vision.
Furthermore, anyone driving on Halloween should consider the following:
- Take it slow through neighborhoods. On Halloween night, you know children are out roaming the streets. Go slower than the average speed limit and take special care as you turn around the corner, cross intersections, and especially when you drive past parked vehicles (where children are likely to jump out and cross the road).
- Watch for children everywhere. As you drive, always assume a child will jump out in front of you – even if it never happens. Exercise caution and never pass a stopped vehicle in the road, back out slowly from your driveway, and yield to anyone crossing (even if they are not using a designated sidewalk).
- Avoid distracted driving. Now is not the time to check Facebook, post a status update, or even text a friend. Put the phone down, avoid using your radio, and focus on the road ahead. Distracted driving causes enough accidents throughout the year. But on a night like Halloween, it could lead to catastrophic incidents.
- Never drink and drive. Halloween parties are fun, festive, and most likely to contain alcohol. If you plan to drink on Halloween, find a designated driver or see if you can stay at the party location for the night. DUIs increase on Halloween, and you might discover roadblocks conducting roadside sobriety tests. Not only do you risk an arrest for a DUI, but if you were to injure someone while intoxicated, you could be held criminally and civilly liable.
While you and your children roam the streets filling those bags with candy, make sure you also exercise caution by:
- Using crosswalks when possible. Not all roads have crosswalks, especially in neighborhoods. Regardless, use the designated crossing zones where vehicles are more likely to stop and wait for pedestrians.
- Never dart into the road. Most importantly, your children need to be aware that cars are still on the road and basic road safety applies while trick-or-treating. They should never dart into the street, cross outside of the sidewalk, and they should always be careful about crossing behind parked vehicles. Making eye contact with the driver of the car before passing in front of them ensures that they are seen.
When Injuries Occur, Contact a Professional
You and your family should not shoulder the financial burden in the aftermath of a severe accident. If you or your child was seriously injured in a crash on Halloween, contact the attorneys at Malman Law to explore your options.
We aggressively fight for our clients right to compensation – and we can help you, too.
Schedule a free consultation today at 888-625-6265 or contact us online with your questions.