Trick-or-Treating is a time honored part of the Halloween experience. It also presents some safety challenges since children are crossing busy streets in the dark and some of their costumes have limited visibility for those who wear them as well as the drivers who drive the streets during this time.
Webb Weekly as a public service is presenting these safety tips for children and their parents who are trying their best to enjoy this fun holiday.
Parents, did you know that pedestrian fatalities among young children are four times higher on Halloween than on any other evening of the year?
According to Chris Smith, Highway Safety Specialist, “Halloween activities usually begin after dark and involve costumes that are either less visible or limit a child’s ability to see and hear.”
Children are distracted by costumes, playfulness and pressures to get the most candy in a short time.
“Add to this the fact that children are small and hard to see, and are impulsive and don’t understand traffic,” Smith said.
Help your young trick-or-treater be safe.
The Safe Communities Task Force of the Lycoming County Health Improvement Program advises parents to follow the “10 Steps to a Safe Halloween” by having children:
1. Wear shoes that fit;
2. Use face paint, not a mask. If wearing a mask is the only option, be sure the eye holes are large enough that your child’s vision is not restricted.
3. Wear a costume short enough and easy to walk in. Use flexible props;
4. Be Safe. Be Seen. Wear bright colors. Use a flashlight, blinky lights and reflective strips;
5. Walk in a group - the bigger the cluster the easier it is to be seen;
6. Stop at the curb or edge of the road. Cross at corners;
7. Walk on sidewalks – not lawns. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side, off the road, facing traffic;
8. Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT before crossing;
9. Walk-don’t run-across the street; and
10. Under age 10 – always cross with someone older, preferably an adult.
As the person who is distributing the Halloween treats, Smith advises that you “make your house trick-or-treat friendly.” Be sure cars are parked in the driveway and not blocking sidewalks and that the walkway to your house is well lighted and free of obstacles.
Those drivers that will be out on the streets traveling should also be extra mindful and take greater care in looking out for trick-or-treaters and should always be ready for the unexpected such as a child inadvertently darting into the street and into traffic.
Some additional Halloween safety tips come from the Halloween Safety Guide website.
Children should always go out trick or treating accompanied by a responsible adult. If you have a group of kids going, the parents should choose two or three of them to go along and keep an eye on things.
Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return home. Make sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves. Make sure that they have a cell phone.
Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields if they are out alone. Make sure they know to stay in populated areas and not to go off the beaten track. Let them know to stay in well lighted areas with lots of people around. Explain to them why it can be dangerous for kids not to do this. If they are going out alone, they are old enough to know what can happen to them in a bad situation and how to stop it from happening.
Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you. This way you can check for any problem candy and get the pick of the best stuff!
Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car. Explain why this is not a good idea and what to do if someone approaches them and tries to talk to them.
Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
Let them know that they should stay together as a group if going out to Trick-or-Treat without an adult.