As fall weather finally begins to settle into Louisiana, children and adults alike are preparing their costumes and decorations for Halloween. As you gear up for Halloween, keep in mind some often-overlooked risks and consider taking a few important safety precautions.
Halloween is the only time of the year when parents are likely to dress their children in dark clothing and send them out in the neighborhood after dark, often unaccompanied. Accident statistics show that this puts children at risk for accidents, especially accidents involving cars.
Some of the factors that can lead to danger include:
- Ill-fitting costumes and masks that obstruct a child’s vision
- Dark-colored clothing
- Trick-or-treating during evening hours, with low visibility
- More than 10% of parents allow children age 5 or younger to trick-or-treat alone
Halloween pedestrian accident statistics
An often-cited statistic is that children are twice as likely to die in a pedestrian crash on Halloween than at other times of the year. However, a historic study released by the CDC puts the risk much higher – children are four times as likely to die in a pedestrian crash on Halloween – while its editorial notes explain that the results likely underestimate the true risk.
The CDC study analyzed FARS data from 1975-1996 and found that during that time period, from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. on October 31st, there were a total of 89 deaths of pedestrians ages 5-14, for an average of four deaths per Halloween evening. There were a total of 8846 deaths for all other evenings, averaging one death per evening. However, the risk could actually be higher because:
- FARS data only counts on-road accidents, and does not include likely Halloween accident sites like driveways
- Many communities hold trick or treat festivities on days other than October 31
- Some Halloween festivities occur after 10 p.m.
Prevent pedestrian accidents on Halloween
If you are a parent, take the precautions to help kids stay safe:
- Choose face paint instead of a mask, which can limit vision
- Put reflective tape on costumes and treat bags
- Equip kids with flashlights loaded with fresh batteries
- Accompany kids under the age of 12
- Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street
- Remain on sidewalks and if there is none, then walk facing traffic on the farthest edge of the road
If you will be driving on Halloween or another night when there may be trick or treating:
- Keep watch for children crossing the street and even in driveways
- Do not assume that once a child has crossed the street it is safe to go; there may be another child or group following
- Drive slowly and anticipate kids acting unexpectedly
- Eliminate distractions
Get help from a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer
Halloween can and should be safe fun for the whole family. In the tragic case of an accident, you need a skillful and compassionate advocate. Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident attorney Bart Bernard understands the emotional and financial impact that a pedestrian accident can have on victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call today for a free consultation. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!
Additional Halloween safety resources:
- National Safety Council, Halloween Safety On and Off the Road, https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Halloween SafetyTips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx
- Centers for Disease Control, Childhood Pedestrian Deaths During Halloween — United States, 1975-1996, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00049687.htm