There's something scarier about Halloween than the costumes: It's the scariest day for child pedestrian accidents.
That was a key finding from a 2012 study by State Farm™ and Bert Sperling of Sperling's BestPlaces that shed light on the risks surrounding trick-or-treating. To help make Halloween activities safer, whether you're going door-to-door, driving or passing out treats at home, keep these tips in mind.
If you're going door-to-door
- Always accompany young children.
- Exercise great caution during the 'scariest' hours: between 5 and 9 p.m. The study shows that the hour between 6 and 7 p.m. is especially dangerous for pedestrian accidents.
- Stick to neighborhoods with sidewalks. If you must walk on the street, keep to the far left, facing traffic.
- Practice safe crossing procedures: Use crosswalks; wait for corners; and look left, right and left again before crossing.
- Stick reflective tape onto costumes to make your child more visible. Also have him or her carry a flashlight.
- Make sure costumes and shoes are the correct size to prevent tripping. Use face paint and leave the masks at home: They can obstruct vision.
- If an older child is venturing out without supervision, ask that he or she go with a group, discuss the route and agree on a curfew. Give older kids cell phones so they can stay in touch.
If you're driving
- Be alert for children and eliminate in-car distractions.
- Drive slowly.
- Practice extra caution at intersections and corners.
- Pull in and out of driveways carefully.
- Discuss these and other driving pointers with your teen driver. Drivers ages 15-25 were involved in around one-third of fatal crashes involving child pedestrians on Halloween, according to the study.
If you're handing out treats
- Keep your home brightly lit indoors and outside.
- Clear debris and other obstacles from your lawn, sidewalks and steps.
- Opt for battery-operated candles in jack-o'-lanterns or other areas where costumed trick-or-treaters might stand.
- Keep pets kenneled or in another room.
In addition to protecting children from accidents, remind kids of stranger danger on Halloween. Teach children to visit only well-lit homes, to avoid dark streets and to not enter homes that aren't their own. Kids should show all their loot to parents before eating any of it. Homemade treats from people they don't know shouldn't be eaten.
Learn more Halloween health and safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Safety Council also offers suggestions for a safer Halloween.
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