Halloween can be a potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians. The Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition at All Children’s Hospital urges parents to prepare children to act safely and motorists to take extra precautions. On average, twice as many kids are killed or injured while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.
Many children will be out trick-or-treating while it is dark when it is more difficult for motorists to see them. There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury.
Children under age 12 should not be alone crossing streets on Halloween without an adult. If older kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents need to make sure they walk in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.
Drivers need to be extra alert as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks – and those kids may be focused on gathering candy and the excitement of the holiday rather than being careful while crossing streets. Drivers are urged to slow down on neighborhood roads to make Halloween more enjoyable for everyone, but also to help save lives.
Safety tips for parents:
• Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
• Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
• Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. Masks can obstruct vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
Safety Tips for drivers:
• Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are approximately 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
• Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Reduce all distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone, texting or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy. You should remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, visit: http://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips