Kids love Halloween, and look forward to dressing up in costumes to go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. But keeping them safe is a concern among parents. Cars are still on the roads in the early evening, and with so many children out walking that day, there is an increased risk of a pedestrian accident.
According to the National Safety Council, running into the road accounts for 70% of pedestrian deaths among children age 5 to 9, and 47% of pedestrian deaths among children age 10 to 14. When trick-or-treating, kids tend to be more focused on the fun they're having, and pay less attention to cars and traffic.
In fact, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, child pedestrians are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween. That's not surprising. It's dark outside, many children are wearing dark costumes and aren't paying attention to cars on the road. If you add a negligent driver who is drowsy or distracted, then the risks of an accident go up.
Pedestrian accidents are a concern because of the harm that can result. These types of accidents can cause very serious and even fatal injuries, as pedestrians usually have no protection when struck by a car or other vehicle.
Fortunately, Halloween can be fun AND safe. Taking some simple steps and talking to your child before trick-or-treating can make a big difference. Here are some tips for parents to help reduce the risk of their child being involved in a pedestrian accident:
- Have your child go out trick-or-treating in a group with other children, under the supervision of an adult.
- Before going out, make sure your child knows the rules. These include: Always stick to the group. No running, walking only. Listen to the adult in charge.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths to stay off the road. If you do need to walk in the road, keep as far to the side of it as possible, facing traffic.
- If you have to cross the street, use crosswalks and traffic signals. Before stepping into the road, always look left, then right, then left again to check for oncoming traffic.
- When crossing the road in front of a car, make eye contact with the driver first.
- Keep your distance from cars that are turning or backing up. The driver may not be able to see you.
- Have your child use a flashlight with fresh batteries. This helps children see where they are going and lets drivers know they are there.
- Make sure your child's costume is easy to see. Use bright colors or reflective tape.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it sure the eye holes are big enough so his or her vision isn't blocked.
- Check your child's costume for potential tripping hazards. Avoid long capes or dresses, and any material that trails on the ground (such as a tail).
Many of these tips are useful for your child when out walking anywhere, at any time of year. But this is a great time to make sure they put them into practice.
Happy Halloween from Coplan & Crane!