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Halloween safety tips for the entire family

The Halloween season is filled with thrills and fun, but also potential danger. Pumpkin carving, costumes, unfamiliar homes, and young children traveling in darkness all provide possible scenarios for accidents and injuries. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) urges children and adults to take proper precautions to ensure a safe Halloween.

Research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that between October and November 2018:

Carve out some fun this Halloween, but keep the celebration safe with these handy safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Carve out some fun this Halloween, but keep the celebration safe with these handy safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Nearly 2,700 Halloween-related injuries involved trips and falls.

44% of Halloween-related injuries were related to pumpkin carving activities.

27% of the injuries included lacerations, ingestions, and costume, pumpkin or decoration-related injuries


"There is a reason Halloween is called 'fright night' — it is, after all, the spookiest night of the year. But there is another interpretation of that term that concerns orthopaedic surgeons in the emergency department: a spike in trauma injuries," said orthopaedic hand surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Craig Phillips, MD, FAAOS. "It is important for parents to establish clear boundaries with their kids and teach them safety tips to ensure they have a positive experience, rather than having to visit the hospital. Using proper pumpkin carving instruments and cutting away from the body is just one way to avoid musculoskeletal injuries."


The AAOS offers the following Halloween injury prevention tips:

Pumpkin Carving

Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in thick pumpkin skin.

Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for older children, may be safe for use with parental supervision.

Carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.

If you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, you may need to contact your doctor. Make sure cuts are cleaned and covered with clean bandages.

If after a cut, you experience any limitation in joint motion, numbness or tingling see an orthopaedic surgeon as soon as reasonable.

Avoid candles in Halloween pumpkins and other decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.


Children younger than age 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Parents of older children should plan a safe trick-or-treating route together and set specific times for children to check-in and return home.

Older children trick-or-treating without parents should be reminded to always stay together.

Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways.

Cross streets at designated crosswalks and obey all traffic signals.

Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.

Approach houses that are well lit. Remind children to never enter a home to obtain a treat.

Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating. Remember that these pets can pose a threat when you approach their home.

Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.

Be sure to throw away any unwrapped or spoiled treats.


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