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Oct 16, 2009 5:31 PM by Jthibodeaux

Physicians Give Tips on Avoiding Trick-or-Treat Injuries

Washington, DC - The nation's emergency physicians want costumes, candy and fun times to be the only things you and your children experience this Halloween. But unfortunately each year a fun spooky adventure can become an all too-real nightmare that ends in the emergency department.

"Halloween should be about good times and fun with friends and family, yet sadly, each year we see kids who are injured while trick-or-treating," said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Many of these injuries are easily prevented if a parent or guardian were to take some very simple precautions."

Common Halloween injuries include eye injuries from sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes and children hit by cars as they walk and run around busy neighborhoods.

ACEP suggests that adults follow these tips for a safe and fun Halloween:

· Make sure you see all the candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.

· Make sure your child stays on the sidewalks as much as possible (off streets) and obeys all traffic signals.

· Discuss the importance of staying together in a group. Require at least one adult to serve as a chaperone during trick-or-treat gatherings.

· Make sure your child knows the potential dangers from strangers. Make sure they know never to accept rides from strangers or visit unfamiliar homes or areas.

· Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes.

· Avoid costumes that obstruct the child's sight or vision.

· Avoid masks if possible. If your child must wear one, make sure it is well ventilated.

· Make sure costume fabric, wigs and beards are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.

· Keep candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns away from children so they can't get burned or set on fire.

· Make sure costumes are visible at night: avoid dark colors. Add reflective tape to the costume so your child is more visible to motor vehicles.

· Take a flashlight while trick-or-treating as visibility decreases long before it gets really dark.

· Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects. Make sure they are made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.

ACEP also recommends that children "trick-or-treat" at organized Halloween festivities, such as at local churches, shopping malls or schools. This way children are not walking in the dark and it allows constant adult supervision.

For more on this and other health related topics, go to www.EmergencyCareForYou.org.

ACEP and MedicAlert Foundation are partnering to promote EmergencyCareforYou.org and to educate the public about medical emergencies.

MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the first medical identification and emergency medical information service in 1956 to provide people with a simple but effective method for communicating their medical conditions. Since the organization's founding, MedicAlert Foundation has provided services and products that help to protect and save lives for its 4 million members worldwide. For more than 50 years, the nonprofit foundation has relayed vital medical information on behalf of its members to emergency responders so they receive faster and safer treatment. MedicAlert IDs alert emergency personnel to a member's primary health conditions. In addition to its 24-­hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. For more information, visit www.medicalert.org.

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