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 for child pedestrians, Genesis Health System emergency departments and Safe Kids Worldwide recommend 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.
While many parents talk to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation. Safe Kids Worldwide 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 Worldwide study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loose-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 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 trick-or-treat 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.
Here are tips for a safer celebration of Halloween:
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Trick or Treat With an Adult
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
Drive Extra Safely on Halloween
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.