Kids look forward to Halloween all year, though unfortunately the preparation isn't always such a treat for parents, who tend to worry about extraordinary occurrences such as children receiving poisoned candy or being kidnapped off the street. But keeping kids safe on Halloween requires more than just checking for unwrapped candy and reminding them not to talk to strangers.
Statistically, Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for children to walk. In fact, kids are four times as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other night of the year. Because the daylight-saving time change occurs just before Halloween, children will be trick-or-treating in the dark, when it's harder for drivers to see them. Plus, the excitement of the holiday can be distracting to drivers and trick-or-treaters alike. To keep kids safe, parents should take this opportunity to remind them of the rules for navigating the streets and sidewalks, and take precautions to insure that costumed kids will be seen by drivers.
All the usual rules of pedestrian safety still apply on Halloween, but they should be given special attention on this day, especially if kids are going out after dark to trick-or-treat. Here, some tips for your children:
- Cross streets safely. Cross the street at a corner or at a crosswalk, if there is one, and obey all traffic signals. 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, right and left again before you cross, and keep looking both ways until you reach the other side. Walk, don't run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street, facing oncoming traffic. Take direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Stay with an adult — or keep one informed. Children younger than 12 should not go trick-or-treating without adult supervision. Kids who are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without a parent or babysitter should stick to a predetermined route and stay in areas that are well lit.
- 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.