As October kicks off, kids and parents alike are beginning to plan for Halloween: costumes, trick-or-treating routes. But no one plans on their child being injured by a driver during the holiday. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while on the streets during Halloween than on any other day all year. And 12 percent of children 5 or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone!In 2015, there were an estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters out during Halloween night. Whether your child is planning on going out with you or friends, or you’re a homeowner or driver that wants to do your part in keeping Halloween safe, there are many safety issues to be aware of.
The best way to ensure your child trick-or-treats safely is to accompany them, especially if they’re under the age of 12, or ensure they’re with another responsible parent or adult. Here are some tips that can help you keep your child’s night enjoyable and free from injury.
Fun and safe costumes
- Make sure your child’s costume is visible in dark, using light colors or reflective tape. Only 15% of parents use reflective tape on their child’s costume.
- Kids can carry a flashlight to not only help them see, but also to help drivers to see them
- Ensure children’s costumes don’t cover their eyes and restrict sight, or are too long and easy to trip on or restrict free movement.
Street and road safety
- Tell kids to use sidewalks and crosswalks, and always watch for cars. If a sidewalk is not available, they should walk as far to the side as possible and walk facing toward traffic, not away.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing walk and don’t run and always cross the street at corners.
- Have children make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them to ensure they are paying attention, and watch out for cars that are reversing or turning.
Approaching a house
- · Only go to houses that are well-lit – not only does this indicate a Halloween-friendly home, but this will also help children see any potential risks in the yard.
- Watch out for any dogs that could be potentially unfriendly or scared. If a dog doesn’t appear to be on a leash or contained by a fence or kennel, avoid going to the house.
For the homeowner or driver
- Keep your house well-lit, but don’t use real candles in decorations – these pose a real safety risk of fire. Instead use battery-operated votives, which give the same look with zero of the risk.
- Clear your yard of any obstacles like gardening tools, rakes, hoses and anything else that could be stepped on or cause a trip and fall.
- Drivers should be extra aware of pedestrians from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. when the most trick-or-treaters will be out.
- Drivers should enter and exit driveways and alley extra carefully and slowly, and always watch for children crossing the road.
Cause for lawsuit
The last thing a parent wants to think about is their child being injured, but if your child has been injured on another person’s property, you may have grounds for a suit. Dog bites, slip and falls and other hazards can happen when a person hasn’t diligently maintained their property. And because a trick-or-treater can be argued to be an invited guest, the homeowner would then be liable for any “foreseen” dangers that they ignored.
The first step, if you or your child has been injured on someone else’s property, is to contact a lawyer to determine whether the injury was caused due to actions (or lack of action) by the homeowner. A lawyer will be able to answer your questions, let you know if you have a case and lead you through the process.