Halloween is coming up. If you have children who plan on trick-or-treating, it is important that you discuss the safest ways to avoid injury on this otherwise fun and exciting night.
Tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating
If your child is planning on going through a neighborhood to trick-or-treat, make sure he or she is doing so in a group. Larger groups of children tend to be more visible and are less likely to be struck by vehicles.
In addition to traveling in a group, you can help keep your child safe this Halloween by instructing them to:
- Wear reflective fabric
- Use a flashlight
- Stay on sidewalks
- Cross the street only at corners or crosswalks
- Obey traffic signals and signs
- Look both ways, twice, before entering the street
- Be mindful of surroundings and traffic conditions
- Keep phones and other screens stowed while walking
Smaller children who may struggle with trick-or-treating responsibly should be accompanied by an adult. You can even make an evening out of it by inviting friends and family to trick-or-treat with your kids, supplying both a built-in group of treat-seekers and a team of adults to help keep them safe.
Glow sticks and other seasonal toys can provide higher visibility for approaching vehicles. If your children’s costumes do not allow for reflective fabric, have them wear glowing bracelets or necklaces, or cover their treat pale with glow sticks to help increase their visibility to cars.
The US Census Bureau reports over 41 million children engage in door-to-door trick-or-treating every year. If your children will be among them, you need to be aware of the following:
The Governors Highway Safety Association reports an 11% increase in fatal pedestrian accidents in 2016. With over 6,000 deaths nationally last year, pedestrian and bicycle accidents accounted for close to 20% of all fatal car accidents in the U.S.
Recent studies have linked this increase in serious and fatal pedestrian accidents to cellphone use, particularly in areas with dense populations like Atlanta. Here’s the rub: it’s not just drivers who are endangering pedestrians through cellphone use, it’s pedestrians themselves who are, increasingly, wandering blindly into traffic while distracted by their screens.
If inattention is the cause of this increase in pedestrian accidents, attention is the obvious countermeasure. Instruct your children to keep cellphones in pockets, purses, or treat sacks while trick-or-treating to help ensure their full attention is on the task of safely traveling from house to house.
The National Transportation Safety Board suggests that in addition to distraction, intoxication is a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. In fact, in 2016, 34% of pedestrians and 15% of drivers were intoxicated at the time of a fatal collision. Your children will, of course, be sober while trick-or-treating, but many drivers may be leaving Halloween parties, increasing the risk of an accident as they swerve down child-cluttered neighborhood streets. Talk to your children about identifying dangerous-looking driving behaviors and getting as far away from the road as possible when they see something questionable coming their way. And try to keep trick-or-treating to the earlier hours of the evening, helping reduce the risk of late night accidents.
Your involvement in your child’s trick-or-treating is essential for keeping him or her safe. Take time to talk to your child about safe behavior when walking around in the dark to help ensure your family has a safe, fun, and happy Halloween.
If your child is struck by a vehicle while trick-or-treating, call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance at 404-760-7400 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Atlanta, our pedestrian accident attorneys serve Savanah, Columbus, Decatur, Augusta, and all surrounding areas of Georgia.