Keeping Everyone Safe This Halloween

Keeping Everyone Safe This Halloween

BINGHAMTON, NY - Halloween can be a fun and exciting holiday for most children but it can also be a time when the safety of our children is at risk. Things such as oversized costumes, poor visibility and heavy pedestrian traffic can leave our children vulnerable to injuries and accidents. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute pedestrian fatalities involving children are about 4.5 times the level of other nights of the year. These fatalities usually occur to children under the age of 15 and occur during non-daylight periods. It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers as well as drivers on the road to ensure the safety of our children on this special night.

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that children trick-or-treat with an adult until age 10 and only trick-or-treat in familiar areas that are well-lit. Adults and children should continue to follow the rules of the road as pedestrians, especially on Halloween. Be sure to cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks, and to look left, right and left again when crossing. Make sure children walk across the street and do not run. There is more of a chance of falling in the road if you run. Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Pedestrian trick-or-treaters should walk on sidewalks or on the left side of the road facing traffic if sidewalks are not available. Be sure children do not dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. Dress your trick-or-treaters in light colored, flame retardant costumes and apply retro-reflective tape or stickers to their outfits. Retro-reflective materials bounce light from headlamps back in the direction of oncoming cars and are amazingly effective. Be sure costumes fit your trick-or-treaters well. This will prevent trips and falls. Carry a flashlight or glow stick to increase visibility to drivers. Avoid using masks. Masks can restrict a child's visions –wear face paint or makeup instead.

Drivers need to do their part too to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm. FedEx recommends drivers be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and to drive more slowly. Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road on Halloween. Typical rush-hour period for trick-or-treaters is between 5:30-9:30 p.m. Be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances. Take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Keep in mind that trick-or-treaters may be wearing costumes that interfere with their vision and they may not be able to see your vehicle. Since many trick-or-treaters will be walking on sidewalks, be sure to enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully. Remember Halloween is a thrilling night for children so they may move in unpredictable ways. Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians – this goes for all the time, not just on Halloween.

For more information about Halloween safety, please visit www.safekids.org.

10/31/2008 - 12:00am