10 Halloween Safety Tips for a Boo-tiful Night
While Halloween is one of the most festive nights of the year for children, it also ranks among the most dangerous for young pedestrians. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says children are four times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Motorists need to be extra cautious and watch out for spooky vampires, giggling princesses and mighty superheroes who are out trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets.
A SafeKids study found that only 37% of parents require use of a flashlight, and only 18% use reflective tape or stripping on the costume.
“On Halloween night, it’s important that adults maintain vigilance with safety, as kids are often distracted by the excitement of the night,” said Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Motorists need to be especially vigilant between the hours of 4pm and 12midnight, when pedestrians are most vulnerable. AAA advises motorists and parents to make pedestrian safety a top priority on Halloween night. Motorists should slow down and get rid of distractions in the car when driving through neighborhoods where children are trick-or-treating, while parents should accompany their children to ensure they cross streets safely, walk on sidewalks, slow down and stay alert.”
To help make roadways safer this Halloween, AAA is urging drivers to take the following five precautions:
- Slow down. A pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a car traveling at 35 mph compared to 25 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters, always use appropriate car and booster seats and have children exit and enter on the passenger side of the vehicle. Do not make exceptions for large or bulky costumes.
- Keep watch. Drivers should look for children walking on streets, driveways, medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may have reduced visibility, may not pay attention to traffic and cross mid-block or between parked cars.
- Get home safe. If your plans involve drinking alcohol, plan ahead to get home safely.
- Avoid distractions, including text messaging and cell phone use, in order to keep 100 percent of your focus on safe driving.
To keep little ghouls and goblins safe, AAA would also like to offer the following five tips to parents and caregivers:
- Trick-or-treat together. Parents or caregivers should accompany young trick-or-treaters. Make a plan by mapping out the route ahead of time.
- Stay visible. Have each child carry or wear something lit, such as a flashlight, glow stick, or reflective tape in order to enhance visibility.
- Be costume smart. Avoid costumes that drag, and carry flexible props. Too-long costumes can pose a tripping hazard. Props such as swords and knives should be carried in a way that will not pose an injury hazard in the event of a fall.
- Think twice about masks. Masks can restrict breathing and obscure vision, creating safety hazard to trick-or-treaters. If your child’s costume includes a mask, consider cutting larger openings around the nose and mouth as well as the eye areas. Or, as a safer bet, skip the mask altogether and instead opt for a face full of costume makeup.
- Discuss safety with kids. It’s easy for kids to get caught up in the excitement of trick-or-treating and forget about safety. Before setting out on Halloween night, discuss safety rules. This discussion should highlight the importance of sidewalk use and crossing the street safely.
Wilmington, DE-based AAA Mid-Atlantic furnishes insurance, financial, automotive and travel services to nearly 4 million members in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.