Nursing Home Nightmare
by: Allison Theresa
On October 31, your neighborhood may look more like a scene from a scary movie. Costumes, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, and haunted houses attract communities of adults and children alike. But the scare can sometimes go beyond Halloween hijinks. Safe Kids warns that children are “twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.” Increased foot and motor traffic, unusual detours, and early dusk hours require extra caution for safe celebration. This Halloween, make sure you’re taking the right precautions to keep the scare in the haunted houses and off the streets.
Halloween Safety Tips for Children
If you are a parent, help your child avoid Halloween pedestrian hazards. Stick to face paint or make-up rather than bulky masks that can obstruct your child’s vision. Incorporate reflective tape and bright colors into their costume to make them more visible at night. If your ghoul is intent on donning black, arm them with flashlights or glow sticks.
Allowing kids to trick-or-treat in well-lit areas and in larger groups can provide extra peace of mind that motorists will take caution when around your child, but you should also talk to trick-or-treaters about their responsibilities as pedestrians. While crossing streets, costumed kids should take an extra moment to ensure they’re waiting for walk signs, making eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them, and using cross walks rather than jay-walking. Darting in the street or crossing between parked cars should be strongly discouraged, especially on Halloween.
All of these precautions can help protect kids, but the true responsibility falls on motorists driving on Halloween.
Halloween Safety Tips for Drivers
Because of the festivities, both car and foot traffic will run outside of usual patterns. Areas that are typically quiet, like cul-de-sacs and neighborhood drives, fill with goblins, ghouls, and witches on Halloween. Drivers should be as alert as possible, resisting the temptation to use electronic devices, drive while tired, or drive above the speed limit. The National Safety Council even encourages drivers to drive under the speed limit during peak trick-or-treating hours (usually between 5:00-8:00pm) as it can give you extra time to break for an unexpected pedestrian and possibly save a life.
Take extra caution when entering and exiting driveways and alleys as these areas are known to have low visibility and be high risk for pedestrian injury. Turn headlights on earlier in the day to help you see and be seen at dusk and into the evening.
When dropping off and picking up passengers trick-or-treaters, use extra caution. Pull over to a safe area away from moving traffic before opening doors, turn hazard lights on, and encourage passengers to exit the car from the side facing away from traffic. If you are driving and see a car stopped unexpectedly, proceed with caution as they may be dropping off or picking up children.
The NSC also recommends that new and inexperienced drivers try to stay off the roads entirely. Children in dark clothes on roadways, medians, and curbs can catch even the most experienced drivers off guard.
Spooky can be safe if the right precautions are taken.