Halloween is right around the corner. Whether you are going to a costume party, trick-or-treating with your kids, or even ignoring the weekend festivities altogether, it is important to be mindful of special safety precautions on Halloween weekend. In addition to fun times, Halloween brings increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents. The combination of kids trick-or-treating on the streets, people pulling scary pranks, and people drinking more alcohol than usual increases the likelihood of serious pedestrian injury and even death for children. In fact, studies have shown that kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Over four million records relating to Halloween car accidents and fatalities of children ages 0-18 were analyzed by Sperling’s Best Places between 1990 and 2010. This analysis was reported in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and showed the following statistics regarding pedestrian accidents involving children:
- The average number of daily fatalities is 2.6. That number doubles on Halloween for child pedestrian accidents.
- Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. is the time when 60% of accidents occurred.
- Children ages 12-15 showed the highest fatalities of 32% and children ages 5-8 showed fatalities of 23%.
- Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
With this in mind, here are some safety tips for Trick-or-Treating this Halloween:
- Children out at night and under the age of 12 should have adult supervision.
- Kids should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Choose face paint when possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Decorate costumes with reflective tape and have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights.
- Always cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Halloween weekend is also a time to drive extra safely, knowing that there are more pedestrians on the street. Here are some safe driving tips for Halloween:
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Lastly, please do not drink and drive. Have a friend or ride-sharing service take you home instead. Remember, always report drunk drivers to keep our roads safer. At Chris and Frank, we hope you have a safe and fun Halloween weekend!