Every parent wants to feel assured that their child is safe on Halloween. While horrifying headlines from years past talk of tampered-with candy or even razor blades in apples, the real danger to costumed kids awaits on the streets of their very own neighborhoods.
In fact, Halloween is one of the top three days of the year for pedestrian fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A total of 5,987 pedestrians were injured or killed on Halloween in pedestrian-motorist collisions in 2016 alone, the highest number of incidents since 1990. Plus, the website www.safekids.org states that, on average, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Luckily, there are ways for you and your child to minimize the risk of this happening:
- Visibility Is Key. Giving your child a reflective bag, adding a reflective patch of fabric to their costume, or giving them glow sticks or a flashlight will greatly increase their chances of being spotted by a driver.
- Know When to Go. You can reduce the risk of your child being hit by a car by making sure he or she is aware that the danger exists each and every time they step off the curb. Halloween is no excuse to not stop and look both ways before crossing and doing so only at corners and crosswalks.
- Avoid Distractions. From smartphone usage in the case of older children to searching through one’s goody bag for that favorite candy bar, it’s important that kids focus on the task at hand when crossing the street.
- Choose Costumes Carefully. Kids might know the rules, but an ill-fitting costume could cause unanticipated problems. Long robes can be tripping hazards, large masks might limit one’s vision and keeping up with unwieldy props can be a distraction.
- Walk, Don’t Run. Knowing that Halloween can be an exciting time for youngsters, make sure they slow down in and around roadways. A little extra time spent going from house to house can go a long way in ensuring a child’s safety.
Above all, communicate with your kids before sending them out in search of candy. “Parents need to talk to their children about watching out for cars while trick-or-treating,” says Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “On Halloween, more children are on the street after dark than normal, and they are so excited that they may run out into the street without thinking.” Whether it’s parental guidance, driver vigilance, or a child’s focus and effort, all aspects play an important role in ensuring the night stays fun and everyone arrives home safe.