Halloween safety: Don’t let cars and kids go bump in the night

Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. Safe Kids Louisville, a program led by Norton Children’s Hospital, reminds parents and caregivers to make sure trick-or-treaters are walking safely and staying visible to drivers.

“All the usual rules of pedestrian safety still apply,” said Erika Janes, R.N., Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital and local Safe Kids coordinator. “Walk, don’t run. Cross the street only at a crosswalk or corner after looking both ways, and never dart out into the street or between parked cars.”

In addition, children under age 12 should be accompanied by an adult.

“Naturally, kids will be excited, and they’ll need active supervision,” Janes said. “Older kids who have demonstrated the maturity and good judgment to go trick-or-treating with friends, without adult supervision, should stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”

Costumes and bags should be decorated with reflective tape and, if possible, made of light colors. Both kids and adults should carry glow sticks or flashlights to be more visible to drivers.

“Drivers can do their part by being especially careful in residential neighborhoods,” Janes said. “Drive slowly and carefully through neighborhoods and expect the unpredictable actions of excited kids. Stay alert — do not use a phone or other mobile device that may distract and prevent an immediate response from you should a situation arise.”

Parents also should be aware of these Halloween dangers:

  • Baggy, flimsy or billowing costumes are fire hazards.
  • Costumes and improperly fitting shoes can cause a child to trip.
  • Masks can restrict vision; face paint and makeup are safer.
  • Dark porches or doorsteps make it difficult for children to see steps or other obstacles.
  • Candlelit jack-o’-lanterns also are fire hazards; consider using glow sticks or battery-operated candles instead.
  • Once you’re back home, throw out pieces of candy that are loosely wrapped or open for sanitary purposes.

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