Seeing a witch, goblin, ghoul or two walking the streets is expected only during Halloween. While frights are all part of the fun, no one should have to witness a truly scary scene while trick-or-treating. Thanks to Halloween, the month of October ranks No. 2 for motor vehicle deaths by month, according to the National Safety Council. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also show Oct. 31 was the second deadliest day of the year following New Years from 1997-2006 due to Halloween.
Research reveals pedestrians improperly crossing roads and lack of visibility due to low lighting or dark clothing account for most deaths. For 5- to 9-year-olds, 15 percent of deaths in 2015, the latest year data is available, were due to darting or running into the road.
It’s probably not hard to guess why accidents are more likely on Oct. 31: an increase in the number of pedestrians coupled with alcohol consumption. “In 2012, almost half (48 percent) of all crash fatalities on Halloween involved a drunk driver compared to 31 percent on an average day that year,” according to a NHTSA report titled “Drivers and Walkers Be Wary This Halloween.” Not drinking and driving clearly is an excellent way to improve Halloween Safety.
For parents and children, other Halloween safety tips span a few different areas: costumes, trick-or-treating and home safety, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
- Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
- Remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
- Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps
National Safety Council
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
American Academy of Pediatrics