What most people are unaware of is the fact despite how much fun everyone has on Halloween, the day (and night) also happen to be the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrian fatalities. Extra precautions need to be take to insure your child’s safety. Because of the increasing and ongoing problem of distracted driving, we think the numbers below will be substantially higher this year.
A True Story
Several years ago we represented a wonderful family regarding a Halloween injury. Their little girl had sustained serious burns while at a neighbor’s Halloween party. A pumpkin was decorated with a small container filled with a flammable liquid (MEK) which was placed on top of the pumpkin to look like burning hair. The container was held up with wooden toothpicks.
As time passed, the wooden toothpicks eventually burned and collapsed resulting in the burning liquid pouring onto our little client’s face and body. She was severely burned. The entire incident could have been easily avoided.
The good news is that today, this little girl is doing better. Because this type of injury was completely avoidable, our client’s family gave us permission to share her story to help raise awareness as to the safety hazards of Halloween.
Please Take Extra Safety Precautions On Halloween
A study by research expert, Bert Sperling, concluded that kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day. The research effort analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 involving children up to 18 years of age. Here’s what the data and analysis shows:
• Halloween Can Be Deadly For Children– One hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of the analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.
• The Deadliest Hour– Nearly one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Over 60% of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
• Middle of the Block Most Hazardous– Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
• Ages Most at Risk on Halloween– Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).
• Drivers Who Posed the Greatest Risk– Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
With the above in mind, please be very careful this Halloween. Here are several things you can do to help make your family’s Halloween as safe as possible.
Tips for Your Little Trick-or-Treaters
- Be careful with all objects using a flame or fire.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
- Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
- Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
- Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible. Don’t expect the driver of a car to see you in your costume.
- Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
- Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.
- Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Tips for Activities at Your Home
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
- Keep candle-lit jack-o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.
- Watch for electrical fires. Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Carefully set up and use fire items, lights, fog machines, decorations, support lines and other decorative items. They can burn, shock, fall, or cause a child or adult to trip and become injured.
Lisa and I hope you find these Halloween safety tips useful. If so, please share them with your friends. Be safe and enjoy your evening.