There’s statistically no reason to be especially concerned about tainted candy or child abduction on Oct. 31. However, the likelihood of your child being struck by a car or killed in a car/pedestrian collision quadruples on Halloween.
Here’s a list of tips and cautions every parent should review with their children and every trick-or-treater should be quick to observe.
1. Use the Crosswalk
Since 70 percent of Halloween pedestrian accidents occur outside of a crosswalk or crossing intersection, you’ll avoid much of the risk by crossing only in designated places. Use your street-crossing skills by looking left, right, then back to the left before stepping into the roadway.
2. Put Your Phone Away
If ever there was a poor time to be out for a walk with your eyes focused on a smartphone screen, Halloween is it. Be hyper-vigilant, avoid distractions of all kinds, and be aware of your surroundings.
3. Plan Your Route
Not only can you get to more houses and better-stocked houses by planning ahead, you can avoid areas where the sidewalks are in poor condition or non-existent, you can choose well-lit areas, you can minimize street crossings, you can avoid crossing or walking near railroad tracks, and you won’t have to worry about getting disoriented, then ending up in an area that’s spooky even when it isn’t Halloween.
4. Make Eye Contact with Drivers
Never assume the person driving that 2-ton machine sees you and is yielding the right-of-way to you. Look squarely at the person behind the wheel. You should see them looking back at you and maybe even motioning you to go ahead and cross. Never assume a car is stopping for you. Many won’t. They expect you to stop for them.
5. Walk, Don’t Run
It’s easy to get carried away with all the Halloween fun and start chasing one another down the street. Many pedestrian accidents on Halloween occur because a child darted out into the road from between parked cars. Even if your friends start acting wild, you don’t have to go along with them. Smart kids stay vigilant and get home safely.
6. When Running IS Appropriate
Should a driver stop and ask you to get in the car or someone on the street try to get you to go somewhere with them, that’s the time to run. Use the “No, Go, Yell, Tell” technique: Yell “NO!” and run away to a safe place (maybe to the friendly house you just left). Keep yelling as you run, and tell an adult immediately.
For more Halloween safety tips, click here to read the complete article.
By Gene Klein, executive director of child advocacy center Project Harmony, who has over 28 years of experience in the child welfare field providing direct services as a CPS worker, as well as progressive leadership positions in non-profit agencies serving children and families. Under Gene’s leadership, Project Harmony has become the model collaborative for effective child abuse prevention, response and treatment, bringing together over 220 professionals from the fields of law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, advocacy, mental health, and medical.