Halloween Safety Tips For Trick-Or-Treaters
This year on October 31st millions of children all over the United States – many of whom may not have been able to last year – will finally celebrate Halloween by walking door to door while trick-or-treating. Although a cherished tradition, the increased amount of pedestrian children on the road means higher risk of accidents – much higher. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween poses the highest relative risk increase among children aged 4 to 8 years, exhibiting a 10-fold increase in pedestrian fatality.
This study examines 42 years of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to establish whether Halloween is associated with an increased rate of pedestrian fatalities.
As ide from heightened pedestrian traffic, the study says other reasons for the increased risk are because celebrations occur at dusk, masks can restrict peripheral vision, costumes limit visibility, street-crossing safety is neglected, and some partygoers are impaired by alcohol. In fact, NHTSA statistics show that during a four-year period, 14% of all pedestrian deaths on Halloween involved drunken drivers.
To help prevent these horrible accidents, The Mayo Clinic released a helpful guide for both trick-or-treaters and those who will be preparing to receive them to stay as safe as possible on Halloween night:
Trick or treat with care
Before your children start trick-or-treating, review these safety rules:
- Get in on the fun. Accompany trick-or-treaters younger than age 12. Pin a piece of paper with your child’s name, address and phone number inside your child’s pocket in case you get separated. Encourage older kids to trick or treat with friends, parents or older siblings. Make sure someone in the group has a flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Set ground rules. If your child will be trick-or-treating without you, plan a familiar route and set a curfew. Review safety rules, including staying with the group, walking only on the sidewalk, approaching only clearly lit homes, and never going inside a home or car for a treat. Have your child carry a cellphone.
- Inspect treats before indulging. Don’t let your child snack while he or she is trick-or-treating. Feed your child an early meal before heading out, and inspect the treats before your child eats them. Discard anything that’s not sealed, has torn packaging or looks questionable. If you have young children, weed out gum, peanuts, hard candies and other choking hazards. If your child has food allergies, check candy labels carefully.
- Ration the loot. If your child collects lots of goodies, consider doling out a few pieces at a time. You might ask your child if he or she would like to swap some — or all — of the candy for something else, such as a toy, book or outing.
Stay safe and sweet on the home front
To prepare for trick-or-treaters:
- Clean up. Put away tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys and bikes. Clear wet leaves, snow or other debris from the sidewalk.
- Turn the lights on. Replace burned-out bulbs to ensure visibility at the walkway and front door.
- Control your pets. Take no chances that your pet might be frightened and chase or bite a child at your door.
- Consider sugar substitutes. Instead of handing out sweets, try stickers, fun pencils, rubber insects or colored chalk.
If trick or treating isn’t right for your child, consider planning a candy swap party with friends or neighbors. You might have a food-free costume contest and plan games and prizes. Or check local schools or community centers for other options.
And if you’ll be driving on Halloween, watch for children crossing the street. Be especially careful entering or leaving driveways and alleys. Extra caution can help ensure Halloween safety for everyone.