There are many great things about Halloween (October 31). Children love and adults are nostalgic for the creepy costumes and the scary decorations, which means Halloween night should be a great night for fun for people of all ages. Unfortunately, it is also a night to worry, especially for the parents of young children, who are too often what’s even scarier is especially when it comes to the safety of small children while they are out trick-or-treating.
According to the National Safety Council, Halloween is not as safe as it could be for small children than on any other night of the year. As children take to the streets this Halloween, we’d like to note the importance of making sure that both parents and drivers do their part to make sure our most vulnerable neighbors stay safe.
Halloween Statistics are Truly Scary
- With 3,700 deaths in 2017, October was second to July for the highest number of vehicle fatalities by month.
- On Halloween, pedestrian accidents involving children occur most often during prime trick-or-treat hours, which are between 5:30 and 9:30 pm.
- More than 70 percent of pedestrian accidents on Halloween happen somewhere other than an intersection or crosswalk.
- The most likely driving demographic to be involved in a Halloween pedestrian accident are those drivers between the ages of 15-25.
- Likewise, the most likely age group to be the victims of a pedestrian accident on Halloween are children between the ages of 12-15.
- To make matters worse, between 2013-2017, more than 40% of traffic fatalities on Halloween involved at least one drunk driver.
How to Keep Your Little Trick-or-Treaters Safe
If you are a parent or guardian of a trick-or-treater this year, we can provide you with a sampling of helpful tips you can follow to increase the likelihood that your children have a hazard-free Halloween. One reason children are so vulnerable when trick or treating is because they tend to be so excited for the night that they forget their basic safety rules. There are some basic things to keep in mind, especially when children are trick or treating:
- Children are smaller than adults, which means they are less visible to drivers
- Children have virtually no skill when it comes to judging distances and speeds and they have no knowledge or experience dealing with traffic rules.
There is no reason why trick-or-treating has to be risky for children. By remembering their lack of experience and also following a few basic safety rules, it can be easy to keep our children safe from injury or death.
- Children under 12 should always be supervised by an adult and should never be able to wander any neighborhood alone.
- Stick to neighborhoods the child knows, and stay in areas that are well-lit.
- If your child is over 12, make sure they are mature enough to handle trick-or-treating without an adult. If not, supervise.
- Wear costumes that don’t obstruct your child’s vision. As an alternative, face paint is always a better option than a mask, since masks can restrict both your child’s vision or hearing while walking near the street or crossing at the corner.
- If feasible, multiple parents should try to create trick-or-treat groups and remind children to stick together.
- You can also ensure your child’s safety, use glow sticks, flashlights and reflective gear on treat bags and/or costumes, to ensure that drivers can see them.
- Stay on the sidewalk and off the road as much as possible.
- Only cross streets at designated crosswalks.
- Teach your children to trick-or-treat on one side of the road at a time, and to avoid bouncing from one side of the street to the other. This is much safer because drivers don’t usually expect pedestrians to step out into the road in between crosswalks.
- Plan out a route for your child or children ahead of time, to make sure you’re only crossing at corners and crosswalks and then stick to that route no matter what.
- While walking, everyone, including parents and their children, should put the devices away. While cellphones are great and are an excellent way for your older child to contact you and vice versa while they are out trick or treating, however, cell phones play a part in pedestrian errors just like it does in driver error. Encourage your child to always be aware of his or her surroundings.
How to Drive Safely on Halloween
Reminding parents to keep their children safe on Halloween is only part of the mission to keep Halloween safe, since driver responsibility is at least as important. As children take to the streets for trick-or-treating, their risk of being seriously injured by motorists significantly increases.
Halloween also is considered one of a number of party nights. If you are drinking, it shouldn’t even cross your mind to get behind the wheel and drive. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 to 9:30, although the actual time may vary, depending on where you are. During those hours, drivers are cautioned to always:
- Drive slowly and stay alert;
- Watch out for kids crossing mid-block;
- Put all devices down and avoid screens of any kind.
- Devote 100% of your attention to driving as safely as possible.
Stranger Danger Still Matters, Even on Halloween
Remind your children to never go into the home or car of a stranger. And again, teach your children to only travel in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends.
We want everyone to make it through every holiday safe and secure and to make sure our kids are as safe as possible at all times. Taking safety precautions this Halloween will make it less scary for you and more enjoyable.