According to statistics, October 31 is one of the most dangerous days of the year for child pedestrians. A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that child pedestrian deaths between 1975 and 1996 were four times higher on Halloween evening than compared to all other evenings.
Those numbers have gone down in recent years thanks to coordinated public safety campaigns and use of materials such as reflective tape on costumes and treat bags. Still national crash data reviewed from 2000 through 2005 still show that Halloween fatalities for children is three times the average for all other evenings.
"Parents need to remind kids about safety while walking before they go out trick-or-treating," says Dr. Walter Chwals, Director of the Rainbow Pediatric Trauma Center. "Children should bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags or have reflective tape on their costumes, and not wear masks that may inhibit their ability to see hazards. Ensuring kids are seen this Halloween is essential to keep this holiday fun for everyone."
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital recommends that children under the age of 12 go trick-or-treat only with adult supervision. Those children old enough to go alone should stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.
Rainbow also recommends that parents remind their children to:
Cross streets carefully
- Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Don't assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.
- Look left and right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross.
- Walk, don't run, across the street.
Be a safe pedestrian around cars
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Adults should check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.
- The liquid in glow sticks is also hazardous, so parents should remind children not to chew on or break them.
- Parents should look for non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween make-up.