Take Extra Precautions For A Safe Halloween
On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.
On this potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids Quad Cities strongly recommends parents prepare children to behave safely and that drivers take extra precautions. Only one third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety.
“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are keys to preventing injuries,” says Keene Hart, coordinator of Safe Kids Quad Cities. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”
While many parents talk to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation. Safe Kids Quad Cities urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child, every year to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.
According to a Safe Kids study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosing fitting clothing, and/or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries. These are preventable hazards that could be avoided by following Safe Kids Quad Cities safety tips.
Another key finding of the Safe Kids study shows 12 percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone. Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised. This recommendation is made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.
“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Hart. “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids Quad Cities recommends the following tips to parents and caregivers:
• Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
• Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.
What Drivers Need to Know:
• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
• Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
• Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit www.safekids.org.