Halloween a time to keep safety in mind

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2003

By By CAROLYN F. BIVINS Special to The Standard
Most people think of Halloween as a time for fun and treats. However, roughly four times as many children aged five to 14 are seriously injured or worse while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year, and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween.
Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents or caregivers closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.
Parents and caregivers can help prevent children from getting injured at Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.
Children should:
When walking in neighborhoods, they should:
Remind the youngsters to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
Parents and adults should:

  • Supervise the outing activity for children under age 12;
    Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings;
    Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters too:
    A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that during 1975-1996, the number of serious injuries and deaths among young pedestrians was four times higher on Halloween evening when compared with the same time period during all other evenings of the year. Halloween poses special risks to young pedestrians.
    For example, most of the time children spend outdoors is typically during daylight hours. However, Halloween activities often occur after dark. Also, children engaged in "trick or treat" activities frequently cross streets at mid-block rather than at corners or crosswalks, putting them at risk for pedestrian injury.
    Many parents overestimate children's street-crossing skills. The pedestrian skills of children are limited by several factors related to their physical size and developmental stage. For instance, young children may lack the physical ability to cross a street quickly, and their small size limits their visibility to drivers. Children are likely to choose the shortest rather than the safest route across streets, often darting out between parked cars.
    In addition, young children do not evaluate potential traffic threats effectively, cannot anticipate driver behavior, and process sensory information more slowly than adults.
    So please, help our children have a happy and safe Halloween celebration by following the pre-mentioned tips.

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