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Safety is a primary concern for parents year-round, but it’s especially important on Halloween. Although it’s important to keep an eye on the treats your kids bring home, the most important thing you can do is protect your young trick-or-treaters from traffic.
October 31st is the most dangerous day of the year for motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians. According to the U-M Transportation Research Institute, child fatalities are about four times as likely on Halloween than any other night. In practice, this results in just a handful more fatalities on the holiday, but traffic is still a major concern that parents should consider when sending their kids out at night.
A high number of people on the streets, including excited children, makes accidents more likely. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can protect your kids on Halloween while still having a scary good time:
— Focus on safety when you make or purchase your costume
It should be easy for your child to move around while wearing the costume. Hems should be short enough that there’s no risk of tripping, and there should be ample visibility and hearing from any mask so children can see and hear cars coming. If the costume is dark-colored, find a way to make it reflective, glow-in-the-dark or otherwise highly visible at night. Make sure your child is carrying a light as well to help make him or her more visible.
— Discuss traffic safety with your kids before they leave the house
Most kids are taught from an early age to look both ways before crossing the street and keep an eye out for cars, but they might forget some lessons in the excitement of the holiday. A simple refresher course should help keep safety in the forefront of their minds.
— Make sure the trick-or-treating happens early in the evening before it gets too dark
Darkness reduces visibility and increases a child’s chance of getting lost as well. Check when the sun is meant to go down where you live, and be sure that your kids are due to get back early. Make sure that any chaperones are on board and know the schedule so they get the kids back in time.
— Send your kids out in a group, and make sure they stick together
Also be sure that they’re traveling with at least one responsible adult. Ideally, you should escort your own kids, but if that’s impossible try to arrange to have a friend or family member do it. Older kids might be able to police themselves if they’re staying in the neighborhood.
— Choose a well-known neighborhood that doesn’t get much traffic and is well-lit
It makes the most sense to trick-or-treat in your own neighborhood, but if you live in a rural area or a neighborhood that gets a lot of traffic, it can make sense to go somewhere else. There are also plenty of opportunities to go trick-or-treating indoors, such as at shopping malls, or in a parking lot among the cars of other parents.
— Consider alternative options for Halloween instead of trick-or-treating
In many neighborhoods, trick-or-treating has gone out of style as parents have chosen to try other holiday activities with their kids. If the idea of sending your child out into the neighborhood makes you nervous, consider finding a haunted house or Halloween carnival in your town. You can also throw a party or see if there are any school events you can attend as a family.
— Be sure to keep an eye out for kids while you’re driving on Halloween
Other families may not be as vigilant about safety, and you want to be sure that you have good visibility. Drive slowly through residential areas and try to avoid cutting through back streets frequently used by pedestrians.
Following these tips will help make sure your kids stay safe this year. It’s also a good idea to double check your car insurance policy to make sure you’re carrying first-party medical insurance. These coverages cover any injuries caused by a car accident, including those obtained as a pedestrian. This way, if something were to happen, your family would receive assistance with the medical expenses from your insurance company. It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but it’s smart to be prepared for an emergency.
On the whole, your chances of having any problems on Halloween are quite slim. By practicing safety precautions and preparing for emergencies, you an rest assured that your kids will be safe this year.