It’s almost Halloween, and the nation just received the green light from the CDC to celebrate and enjoy Halloween and trick-or-treating this year (with precautions, of course).
Exciting news for kids and adults alike, as this spooky holiday can be one of the most anticipated nights of the year. Particularly after more than 18 months under the dark cloud of the coronavirus pandemic, children may have heightened excitement this year for dressing up as their favorite character and going door to door trick-or-treating with friends, family, and neighbors, while others may be looking ‘extra’ forward to more big kid activities such as visiting haunted houses or attending Halloween parties.
The fright night element of Halloween is the fun part. But there are some genuine safety concerns that people of all ages should keep in mind. While most of us are focused on how to keep ourselves and each other safe from COVID-19 this year, don’t forget about the biggest threat on October 31: traffic.
A day when millions of additional pedestrians, mostly children, take to the streets to enjoy the fall festivity, it comes as no surprise that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) reports Halloween as one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
Take a look at some of these other startling statistics:
- According to the Washington Post, children are more than two times more likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.
- A study released by JAMA Pediatrics found that the 6:00-7:00 p.m. hour — a confluence of rush hour and sunset in many parts of the country — was the deadliest time for trick-or-treaters.
- Unsupervised kids ages 12-15 are at greater risk, followed by children ages 5-8.
- In 2017, AAA and the NHSTA reported more than half of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween occurred with the pedestrian outside of a marked crosswalk.
Some of the factors that ultimately lead to Halloween pedestrian accidents include:
- The commencement of trick-or-treating at dusk, which historically is the most dangerous time of day for pedestrians;
- Dark costumes make it difficult for drivers to easily spot children at night;
- Costume masks can restrict peripheral vision and limit visibility;
- Street-crossing safety is often neglected;
- Drunk driving
How to Keep Children Safe This Halloween
While the likelihood of a child being struck or killed by a car on Halloween is still extremely low, given the hundreds of millions of trick-or-treaters who fill the streets on Oct. 31, staying safe this Halloween means being aware of the potential dangers and taking the precautions necessary to protect yourself, as well as those you love.
To guard against a Halloween nightmare, follow some simple precautions:
before the big night:
- Make sure all costumes, wigs and accessories are fire-resistant;
- Prioritize costumes light in color to improve visibility;
- Avoid masks, which can obstruct vision;
- Adhere reflective tape to costumes and candy bags, and consider giving children glow sticks;
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first;
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules;
- Teach your children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home, garage or car;
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you and instruct children to travel only along established routes.
Walking the neighborhood on halloween:
- A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds;
- Review the plans established;
- Agree on a specific time for children to return home;
- Warn children to be careful around jack-o-lanterns with lit candles;
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends;
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Listen for traffic before crossing the street. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross;
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them;
- Walk, don’t run, across the street;
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible;
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up from driveways or alleys;
- Teach children to never cross between parked cars
And for trick-or-treaters and parents alike, put electronic devices down and keep heads up!
pedestrian accident lawyers
Chalat Hatten & Banker, PC has recovered millions of dollars in car accident and pedestrian injury cases on behalf of our clients. Our Colorado pedestrian accident attorneys can help you. Call us at 303-861-1042 to discuss your injury with a member of our legal team. Or use our contact form to schedule a free injury consultation today.