Keeping children safe on the scariest night of the year
How to keep the scariness of Halloween imaginaryOctober 21, 2019
Halloween is often loaded with treats, but don’t be tricked — it is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for pedestrians.
Twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep children safe from injuries.
“Young children are more likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year,” said Purnima Unni, MPH, CHES, manager, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “The risk of death is 10 times higher for 4- to 8-year-olds and the most dangerous time for pedestrians is between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“It’s so important that we all pay special attention while driving on Halloween night. There is more foot traffic with trick-or-treaters and the excitement of the night can get the better of kids and they can forget all the important road rules.”
“That also happens to be during the peak travel time for commuters and visibility is fading. It’s so important that we all pay special attention while driving on Halloween night. There is more foot traffic with trick-or-treaters and the excitement of the night can get the better of kids and they can forget all the important road rules.”
Unni also said that oversized and loose costumes could also be the culprit causing children to trip and fall, while masks can make it difficult for them to see while walking.
Safety experts offer the following tips for a fun-filled and safe night of trick-or-treating:
- Place reflective material on costumes or trick-or-treat bags to increase visibility to drivers or provide glow sticks or flashlights to children.
- Keep costumes safe. If possible, make costumes light in color and make sure they are the right size to prevent falls and slips.
- Masks can obstruct vision. Choose a nontoxic face paint or makeup if possible.
- Walk safely by crossing streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Always look left, right, and left again when crossing and make sure to make eye contact with the driver before you cross in front of a car.
- Put down electronic devices and keep your head up. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or well-lit paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far left as possible.
- Stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Don’t dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you.
- Agree on a specific time that children should return home.
- Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends.
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
Tips for drivers:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods, particularly during peak trick-or-treating hours from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
- Be alert. Take extra time to look for children at intersections, on curbs and on medians.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car including talking on the phone or eating to help you concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
For more safety tips visit: https://www.childrenshospitalvanderbilt.org/information/injury-prevention-safety-tips