If you ask a child which of the holidays are their favorites, you will likely find Halloween is one of the top choices. Getting to dress up as their favorite hero or villain, fantasy figure, or real-life celebrity, children love to trick or treat with friends and family. The excitement causes little feet to run from house to house anticipating the next treat. And yet, it is also the holiday that causes too many childhood injuries, at which time a highly anticipated fun night turns into a nightmarish trip to the ER. Masked and full of adrenaline as the sun sets, tiny little trick or treaters are prone to run into the street without looking or seeing a car. They may slip and fall, tripping on the long gowns as princesses or lightsaber masters. Either accident can lead to broken bones, lacerations, and concussions.
Children Hit by Cars while Trick-or-Treating
In fact, Halloween is one of the deadliest holidays, with a tripled increase in the odds of children being hit by cars on this one day. Not only do excitement and masks at dusk increase the likelihood of walking into a street without noticing cars, but the sheer number of people out in the neighborhood causes distraction. Thus, children cross streets outside of crosswalks or are overstimulated and do not look before crossing a street. Coupled with the higher numbers of distracted drivers looking at Halloween decorations or searching street addresses for parties, darting children everywhere create the perfect storm for car vs. pedestrian accidents. Teens in dark costumes and no lights are likewise vulnerable to getting hit by a car. And parties often mean drinking, so add drunk driving accidents with child passengers to the mix, and you can understand why more children suffer injuries on Halloween than on other days.
Child Slip and Falls on Halloween
Children also fall more often, not only by tripping over costumes or falling off curbs when their masks obscure their vision. Children, like all people, have poor vision at night, especially when the weather is wetter, so they may not see a lifted sidewalk from a tree root, a wet sidewalk, or maybe congestion on a sidewalk. With too many other trick or treaters, children can twist their ankles, often rolling off the cement into the grass as other children push them off the sidewalk. They can also trip on Halloween lawn decorations when they take shortcuts across people’s lawns to get to the next house on the block more quickly. And then there is always that one house in the neighborhood. Some neighbors go all out and turn their homes into haunted houses with screaming ghosts and ghouls that send children running and screaming, enticed and enchanted and frightened all at once, increasing the chances that others will get bumped and knocked over in a frightened escape. Running away from scary people and houses causes falls.
Children Injured while Carving Pumpkins
Even before the trick or treating starts, however, pumpkin carving causes accidents. Even if an adult is carefully supervising, family time decorating with knives can be a source of cuts and hospital trips. Nearly one-fifth of the total Halloween accidents result from pumpkin carving. In the days leading up to Halloween, hospitals see more lacerations resulting from pumpkin carving. Pumpkins are hard and require hand strength and skill to cut out the Jack o’ lantern face and remove the pulp and seeds. And even when the pumpkin carving finishes with no injuries, lighting the finished product or keeping a lit carved pumpkin comes with burn risks. A child in a costume that accidentally bumps into a burning pumpkin can burn when their costume catches fire, or small children touch the flame.
Other Childhood Injuries during Halloween
Other injuries occur when children use their accessories, like swords, crowns, or flashlights, as weapons against one another. Sharp edges or heavy, blunt objects cause eye or head injury or puncture wounds. In addition, some face paint can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Sadly, the prizes at the end of the trick or treat trail cause injury too. Expired candy or homemade trick-or-treat sweets can cause food poisoning or allergic reactions when the ingredients are unknown. For small children, hard candies, gum, small toys, or peanuts can be choking hazards. As you can see, so many accidents can occur on this one night.
Emergency Room Malpractice on Halloween may cause Harm to Children Patients
Emergency rooms may be overwhelmed with injured children, teens, and adults on a crowded Halloween night. The ER may overflow with bleeding cuts, severe burns, broken bones, concussions, vomiting, and respiratory distress. ER doctors and nurses may have a lot to sort out between anaphylaxis for a peanut allergy and severe dehydration from food poisoning, on the one hand, and bleeding wounds and concussions on the other. Emergency rooms are in constant bustle with so many painful life and death health conditions occurring all at once. A long Halloween night of continuous traffic in the hospital could turn even deadlier when medical professionals make mistakes. For example, a child experiencing anaphylactic shock needs immediate attention and often a shot of epinephrine. Waiting is not an option. If they do not receive treatment in time, a child in shock can have a brain injury or die from obstructed airways.
Rushed or tired doctors may incorrectly set a broken bone, especially broken hands, wrists, fingers, and forearms, where the bones must line up to heal properly. If inappropriate setting occurs, a child could have trouble moving their hands or fingers and require further surgery to re-break the bones and repair them. And lacerations that get stitched or otherwise repaired may end in infections when hands or instruments carry bacteria that enter the open wound and fester around the broken skin. If left untreated, infections can develop into sepsis, a severe infection that can affect all the body’s organs. Thus, rushed or not, doctors and nurses must follow hospital protocols on safety and hygienic practices and communicate throughout the healthcare system. From admittance personnel to treatment specialists, all must be working efficiently and effectively, so no patient suffers worse injury than before they entered a hospital because of miscommunication.
Was Your Child Injured on Halloween due to Someone Else’s Negligence in NJ?
If your child suffered a Halloween injury that an ER physician, family doctor, urgent care professional, or nurse made worse through their negligence, you should strongly consider sharing your child’s story with a pediatric medical malpractice attorney. You may be entitled to full compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses on behalf of your child as well as reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages tending to your child’s injuries, and the suffering your child endured from prolonged injuries, hospital stays, or surgeries.
Contact our legal team now at 866-708-8617 to discuss your child’s unique case with a knowledgeable New Jersey lawyer who can delve into the sequence of events, determine your potential grounds for a claim, and advise you on how best to proceed with recovering compensation. Consultations are free and available at your convenience, so please call today to learn more.