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Topeka doctor provides tips to keep kids out of the ER this Halloween

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Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 2:21 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - While many parents are worried about candy that has been tampered with, a Topeka doctor is providing tips to keep the family out of the ER this Halloween.

Topeka ER & Hospital says Melina Keith, D.O., emergency medicine physician, wants to share some safety tips to help Topekans celebrate an injury-free Halloween ahead of the holiday.

“The most-common Halloween-related injuries we treat each year are acute cuts to the fingers, hands and even arms from carving jack-o’-lanterns,” Dr. Keithly said.

She noted a recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission which found 48% of Halloween-related injures in the past three years were due to pumpkin carving.

“If you’re going to carve, a good way to keep your kids safe is to have the kids design the pumpkins but leave the knife use to adults,” Keithly said. “Another great option is to use non-toxic paints or markers for pumpkin decorating.”

Keithly advised the report also found 27% of Halloween-related injuries were due to falls from hanging decorations, costumes and walking while trick or treating.

“As adults, we can be super-focused on making sure our kids are safe but then neglect our own safety, especially when using a ladder,” Keithly said. “Take your time, have someone hold the ladder to steady it, and have them hand you the decorations so you aren’t climbing up and down a lot.”

On costume safety, to help prevent trips and falls, Keithly advised parents to ensure costumes fit well and do not drag on the ground. She also recommended parents ensure their trick or treaters can see through their costumes.

“Even if you’re escorting your kids around the neighborhood, if they have trouble seeing where they’re going they could injure themselves on porch steps, uneven sidewalks or even yard decorations,” said Keithly. She also recommends all trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight and have some reflective tape on their costumes so they stand out to drivers.

As for the stories about candy with needles, razor blades or other nefarious additions, Keithly said that actual incidents of tampered candy are almost nonexistent. However, she does advise parents to sort through their kids’ candy haul for other reasons.

“Looking through the treats is a great way to remove any pieces your kids might be allergic to or could pose a choking hazard for them,” she said. “And if you have a sweet tooth, it’s also a sneaky way to snag a few pieces of candy for yourself.”

For those concerned about the transmission of COVID-19, Keithly recommended handing out treats outside rather than at the door this year.

“If you want to take COVID precautions, instead of waiting inside for trick-or-treaters to ring your doorbell, switch to your porch or driveway to greet them and maintain social distance,” she said.

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