It’s hard to believe Halloween is this week. I just got my decorations up and my youngest daughter is still deciding what she wants to be. It will be a busy week in our household.
As exciting as this holiday can be for our children, it is also one of the deadliest times of year for child pedestrians. In fact, on average, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Scary but true!
There are ways you as a parent and driver can keep in mind to keep the holiday safe.
Top safety tips for parents and children:
- Keep Costumes Creative and Safe. Make sure your child can be seen by drivers. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and choose light colors. Make sure the costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Masks can obstruct vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible. Have your children carry glow sticks or flashlights so they can see — and be seen — better.
- Walk Safely. Make sure your children cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Remind them to look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Make sure they make eye contact with the driver of the car before crossing in front of it.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If your neighborhood has no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don’t dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
Top safety tips for drivers:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (And more children will be out later this year because Halloween falls on a Friday).
- Be especially alert and take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
We want this to be a fun-filled evening, with our children coming home safe and sound and full of exciting stories to share.
Purnima Unni is the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She is a wife and mother of two girls, ages 16 and 13. She loves to cook, travel and watch murder mysteries. She is fluent in three languages and wishes she had a green thumb.