Washington, D.C. -- Although many parents and caregivers worry about hidden dangers in their child’s candy on Halloween, they should be more concerned about their child’s safety as a pedestrian that evening. Each year, more than 650 children are hit by cars and killed and another 20,000 are injured and on Halloween, that number rises dramatically. In fact, children are four times more likely to suffer a pedestrian-related fatality on Halloween than any other night of the year. That’s why the National SAFE KIDS Campaign is urging parents to take precautions to keep their kids safe this Halloween. Check out the Campaign's Halloween Safety Checklist in both English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF).
"Halloween may be one of the most dangerous nights of the year for kids as pedestrians," said Heather Paul, Ph.D., executive director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "With daylight savings time ending just two days before Halloween, the roads may be filled with parents rushing home to get their kids out the doors before dark. And while it is important for all children to remember to obey the rules of the road, all drivers need to be extra cautious this Halloween night."
To help make your child’s Halloween safe, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends taking the following precautions:
• Never let children under age 12 go trick-or-treating or cross the street without the supervision of an adult on Halloween night.
• Teach them never to dart out into a street or cross between parked cars.
• Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retroreflective tape and stickers.
• Use costumes that are light or bright enough to make children more visible at night.
• Teach children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating.
• Remind children to stop at all street corners before crossing. Tell them to cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks.
• Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing the street and to continue looking both ways as they cross.
In addition to pedestrian safety, parents should take precautions against the hazards of fire and fall safety issues. Below are some tips the Campaign recommends:
• Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision. • Give trick-or-treaters flashlights. • Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping. • Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes. • Dress children in shoes that fit. Adult shoes can cause kids to trip and fall. • Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall. • Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are "hidden hazards" in the dark. Tell your children to stay on the sidewalk at all times.
• Look for "flame resistant" labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
• Avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. These are more likely to come in contact with an exposed flame, such as a candle, than tighter fitting costumes.
• Keep candles, pumpkins with candles, matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
The Campaign is partnering with Nestle Chocolate & Confections to disseminate important pedestrian safety messages to children this fall. In addition to a Halloween safety checklist to be distributed by the Campaign’s more than 290 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions, over 34 million bags of Nestle chocolate will include special safety tips for children. For a free Halloween safety checklist, write the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004 or visit www.safekids.org
This information was compiled by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.