Kids love the magic of Halloween: Trick-or-treating, classroom parties and trips to a neighborhood haunted house.
But for moms and dads, often there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns, especially when it comes to road and pedestrian safety.
In 2015, about 6,700 pedestrian deaths and 160,000 medically consulted injuries occurred among pedestrians in motor vehicle incidents, according to Injury Facts 2017, the statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council.
NSC research reveals about 17% of these deaths occurred when pedestrians improperly crossed roads or intersections. Lack of visibility because of low lighting or dark clothing accounted for about 15% of the deaths. Other circumstances varied by age: Darting or running into the road accounted for about 15% of deaths in kids ages 5 to 9 and 7% for those 10 to 15.
Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, and October ranks No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths by month, with 3,550. August is first, with 3,642 deaths.
Follow These Ghoulishly Good Practices
To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a list of Halloween Safety Tips, including do’s and don’ts:
- A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you.
- Agree on a specific time children should return home.
- Teach your children to never enter a stranger’s home or car.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends.
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
- All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant.
- Avoid masks, which can obstruct vision.
- If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks.
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first.
- Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation.
Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street. NSC offers these additional safety tips for parents – and anyone who plans to be on the road during trick-or-treat hours:
Safety Tips for Motorists
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween
Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
- Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and ever leave them unattended.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.
National Safety Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention