It’s a scary fact: Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year. The fun of this special night often leads to distraction. “Halloween is an exciting time,” Dr. Jeffrey Haynes, Director of CHoR’s Children’s Trauma Center, explains. “When the natural impulse to get quickly to the next treat is coupled with the poor visibility at dusk and later evening, pedestrian safety is at risk.”
Halloween should be about frightful fun – not serious scares – and there are several things parents can do to ensure trick or treating is as safe as possible. Top safety tips based on information from Safe Kids Worldwide are outlined below. These tips are important for trick-or-treaters of all ages, not just young ghouls and goblins. “While younger kids typically trick or treat with adults, older kids often go out on their own, and they need to be safe and responsible too,” cautions Corri Miller-Hobbs, Virginia Safe Kids Program Coordinator. “Children of all ages need to be reminded not to dart in the street, to look both ways and to be watchful despite being excited.”
For a safe Halloween night for all ages:
Be bright and light up the night
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers, and if possible, choose light colors for costumes.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them be seen by drivers. Even better, Miller-Hobbs advises, is making light-up items part of the fun: “There are lots of fun ways to make glow sticks, tape, etc., part of a child’s costume and not take away from the look. There are also cute flashlights that have pumpkins, ghosts, etc., on them and creative glow objects that can fit with a costume like wands and light sabers. Clip-on blinking lights are also easily accessible at Halloween and available at party stores year-round.” Be sure that any items children wear around their necks have a “break-apart” connection.
CONTEST: Hop over to CHoR’s Facebook page (after you read this blog!) to enter to win a family pack of glow gear for Halloween night.
Consider safety when selecting costumes
- Choose non-toxic face paint and makeup instead of masks which can obstruct a child’s vision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends testing the face paint or makeup on your child’s arm or hand before applying to make sure the paint doesn’t irritate the skin.
- Make sure a child’s costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Also, when selecting costume parts watch out for large, bulky items that make walking difficult, high-heeled shoes that are hard to walk in, and hanging items that can be tripping hazards.
Appropriate supervision is important
Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and to trick or treat in groups.
Walk safely when trick or treating
Go over these pedestrian “tips and treats” with kids before Halloween night and be extra alert if you are driving on the road during popular trick-or-treating hours, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
- 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.
- Be sure 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. Walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Have fun!
Safe Kids Worldwide has a great video covering these tips and more. Have a happy and safe Halloween! Check back on the blog later this week for a post about managing those post-Halloween candy cravings!