Halloween is one of the most enjoyable holidays of the year for children. However, it can also be one of the most dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the possibility of accidents involving children on Halloween is four times greater than at any other time of year.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most injuries to children on Halloween night result from pedestrian collisions. That is why it is crucial for parents to take extra steps to keep their families safe.
Here are a few Halloween safety tips to prevent pedestrian accidents when trick-or-treating:
- Consider using non-toxic makeup on children’s faces instead of masks that might limit their field of vision.
- Place reflective tape on costumes and have children carry glow sticks or use flashlights to increase their visibility to drivers.
- Make sure costumes and accessories are not too long and that children are wearing shoes that can prevent tripping or entanglement.
- Check the labels or tags on costumes to make sure they are flame-resistant.
- Never let children younger than age 12 to trick-or-treat by themselves. Adults can help children cross streets and ensure they use crosswalks when possible.
- Never cut between parked cars.
- Do not follow behind your children in a vehicle as they walk from house to house. This can clog traffic and is also a clear form of distracted driving, as parents will be naturally more inclined to watch their children instead of the road.
- Be especially careful when walking across driveways or alleys. According to org, thousands of children are killed or injured in backover accidents every year because drivers could not see them.
- Always use sidewalks. If there are none, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Never assume that drivers will respect a pedestrian’s right-of-way. In congested areas, don’t assume that just because one driver yielded to you that others will, too.
- Carry a cell phone and teach children how to call 911 in case of an accident.
Homeowner Responsibilities on Halloween Night
It is important to make sure your children are safe while trick-or-treating. It is also essential to make sure that your home is not a hazard to trick-or-treaters. You could be liable for injuries that occur to others on your property. Consider following these AAP recommendations:
- Leave all outdoor lights on.
- Instead of using a candle to light your pumpkin, use a flashlight or glow stick. If you do choose to use a candle, use a votive.
- Prop your jack-o-lanterns up on a solid table, not by your doorsteps where costumes could get caught in flames or where children could trip over them and fall.
- Rake wet leaves off your sidewalk and driveway to prevent falls.
- Remove any obstacles from your yard, such as hoses, tools, toys or other décor before trick-or-treating begins.
- Restrain your pets to prevent the chances of dog bites.
Other Dangers to Consider on Halloween
Unfortunately, another cause of accidents on Halloween comes from impaired drivers. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that, during one recent four-year period, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. If you are attending a Halloween party, have a designated driver or make sure that you and your friends leave sober.