By now, all your trick-or-treaters have their costumes picked out for the night of Halloween. Now is a good time to consider ways to improve the safety of your loved ones planning to roam neighborhoods. Halloween is about fun, but unfortunately, it also heightens the risk of pedestrian injuries as excited kids dash from house to house or can be distracted by scary sights and sounds, especially after nightfall. Things can get pretty spooky!
Those who are handing out treats can also help improve safety by keeping pathways to the door well-lit and free paths of any obstacles for visiting goblins, witches, and ghosts. When you are driving on Halloween you should be extra vigilant Drivers should be extra vigilant especially between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., when trick-or-treaters are most likely to be out.
Young children should always be accompanied by an adult when they are trick or treating. Your community might offer Halloween activities earlier in the day so you can avoid going out after dark. Older children should travel in groups and create a “buddy system” to get each other home safely and prevent walking alone.
The following are more suggestions:
■ For older children going out with friends, agree on a specific time when they should return home, and they should be carrying a flashlight and a cellphone for quick communication.
■ Only go to homes with a porch light on and, ideally, a well-lit pathway. And stay on well-lit streets.
■ Make sure that the costumes fit correctly and are not too long, so kids do not trip on them. Shoes, hats, and/or masks should fit properly. If the mask is too big, it might impair vision.
■ Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treating bags.
■ Always use the sidewalk and crosswalks. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
■ Never cut across yards or use alleys.
■ Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.
■ Caution kids about the risk of distracted walking, including text messaging, talking on or looking at their phone, and listening to music.
Research has shown that the hours of 6 to 9 p.m. are the riskiest times of day for child pedestrians at any time of year. About 64 percent of child pedestrian deaths occur at dusk, and most (62 percent) child pedestrian traffic fatalities occur midblock, rather than at intersections.
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