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Halloween safety: 10 tips to prevent child pedestrian accidents

October 30, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Risk of little trick-or-treaters being killed by a car is two times higher on Halloween

My daughter was born on Christmas, but as a family, our favorite holiday is  Halloween. But the accident lawyer in me always experiences a lot of anxiety on Halloween night.

The reason: the risk of a child being killed by a distracted driver is two times higher on Halloween night than the normal risk of a child dying in a pedestrian-car accident, according to Safe Kids USA.

This Halloween (as on every night), slow down in neighborhoods while the kids are running around. If you speed, it is quite easy to overdrive your headlights. Take the time to look, which is the most important driving rule of all, and not drive distracted. Remind your loved ones to drive more carefully too.

My job is to help people who are trying to deal with and overcome tragedies like car accidents.  I have personally seen how families are ripped apart by losing abruptly – violently – a loved one of any age.  But there is nothing more tragic than a parent losing a child – and nothing that is more regrettable than when this is 100% preventable if the driver were not driving distracted.  Distracted driving is so dangerous.  I don’t have sympathy for the truck drivers who text and talk on cell phones while driving, and even though they are professional drivers and held to a higher standard than the rest of us, we should all be well-advised to take extra care on Halloween night.

Here are some pointers on how to trick-or-treat safely tomorrow so we can make sure our kids have a safe and fun night. Parents, you can refer to this list when talking to your kids about Halloween safety.

  1. Accompany children trick-or-treating. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany  children during their rounds.
  2. Wear bright, reflective costumes. Drivers can see kids coming when they’re dressed in bright, reflective clothes. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for better visibility.
  3. Make sure the child can see through the costume. Masks and costumes can limit or block eyesight. Think about using makeup and properly fitting hats instead.
  4. Carry flashlights. Provide your children with flashlights that have fresh batteries.
  5. Carry cell phones. Remember to equip your trick-or-treaters with cell phones for quick help in case of an emergency — or in case something suspicious occurs. Teach your kids to call 911 if they’re in danger.
  6. Stay in a group. A large group of children is easier for cars to see. It’s also helpful for children to communicate about their route, so they’re more likely to stick together when trick-or-treating.
  7. Stay on lighted streets. Always walk on the sidewalk. Don’t cut across yards or use back alleys.
  8. Cross the street safely. Cross the street as a group and use the cross walks. Do not cross between parked cars or through driveways.
  9. Don’t assume pedestrians have the right of way. Even when they do.  If a drivers does not see a trick or treater, it doesn’t matter who had the right of way.
  10. Be aware of your own driving. On Halloween (and every night), make sure to turn your lights on, slow down and be cognizant of all of the extra kids that will be running around.

Related information:

Keep Kids Alive: Drive 25


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