The Fall has arrived with its cooler temperatures and shorter days. As the sun sets lower and shadows grow longer, Halloween is quickly approaching. Soon, the quiet suburban streets will be filled with a colorful mix of little ghosts, miniature witches, and tiny pokemons. The children will don their favorite costumes and set out to canvass their neighborhoods. They’ll go from door to door uttering the most familiar phrase, all in hopes of receiving a cache of sugary treasure.
But for moms and dads, the holiday fun is accompanied by a wide variety of safety concerns. Suspicious treats, strange characters, and general late night mayhem come to mind. However, the biggest Halloween danger of all is car accidents. Yes, that is correct, car accidents.
October historically rates as the #2 month for pedestrian deaths nationally. On Halloween, the pedestrian death rate for kids and teenagers is over twice the national average compared to other days. To make matters worse, pedestrian deaths have risen 25% since 2010.
Pedestrian Deaths in the U.S.
- In 2015, 17% of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. occurred while walkers improperly crossed roads or intersections.
- 15% of deaths in children ages 5-9 occurred as a result of darting or running into the road.
- Lack of visibility or dark clothing accounted for another 15%.
Many pedestrian traffic accidents are preventable. General awareness and using a few safety guidelines will go a long way in making sure that your child stays safe this season. Here are some suggestions for a safe night of trick or treating:
Safety in Numbers
- Travel in groups. Groups are much more visible to motorists.
- More people means more eyes able to identify unsafe situations.
Follow the Rules
- Take the time to cross streets at intersections and other well lit areas.
- Walk on sidewalks or other safe places.
- Dress your children in bright colors or wear reflective tape.
- Carry a flashlight.
- Look both ways before crossing any street and be aware of cars that are making turns.
- Don’t wear headphones. Your ears can alert you to what’s happening around you.
- Smartphones can divert your attention and distract you. The recent rise in pedestrian traffic death since 2010 has been attributed to increased mobile phone usage.
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids. With a few precautions, parents can ensure that their kids have fun and stay safe as well. Happy Halloween from your friends at White Dragon Martial Arts!
by Ben Stanley