Avoid Child Pedestrian Accidents This Halloween
Werewolves and zombies aren’t the only thing you should be looking out for this Halloween. In the past, parents were worried that tampered-with candy posed the biggest threat to their children. However, a recent study by State Farm and research expert Bert Sperling revealed that Halloween night is indeed a dangerous evening for children, but not because of tainted treats. Pedestrian accidents are actually the number one cause of fatal injuries on the spookiest night of the year, but they can be avoided.
The State Farm Study
More than four million files from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System were picked apart for this study. From 1990 to 2010, State Farm and Sperling found that 115 children, ages 0 to 18 years, were killed as a result of a pedestrian accident on October 31st, averaging out to 5.5 fatalities each year on that day. That’s double the fatalities of any other day of the year.
The study found that children between the ages of 12 and 15 accounted for 32% of the fatalities, making them the most at risk age group. Children 5 to 8 followed with 23%. It may be safe to assume that more accidents occurred in the 12-15 age group since it’s not uncommon for children of that age to go out with little to no supervision.
While only a fourth of the accidents occurred between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., over 60% took place between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. The study also revealed that 70% of the fatal incidents took place away from crosswalks and intersections.
By and large, the drivers who posed the greatest risk to child pedestrians were younger, aged 15 to 25. They accounted for a third of the accidents, while drivers who fell into the 36-40 and 61-65 age groups were only responsible for nine accidents throughout the 21 year period.
The good news is that these incidents seem to be declining. State Farm reported that the last six years of the study saw fatalities fall below the 5.5 average. However, that doesn’t mean parents and guardians should become lax in protecting their children from pedestrian accidents and teaching them about Halloween safety.
What to Look Out For
There are a number of reasons why child pedestrian accidents are more common Halloween. There are obviously more people out and about, on foot and in vehicles, which does its part to create a dangerous environment for pedestrians. Drinking and driving is also common on Halloween, often resulting in fatal consequences. In fact, from 2007 to 2011, 52% of all national fatalities that occurred on October 31st were a result of drinking and driving, according to Improv Traffic School.
How to Avoid Accidents
As a parent, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent child pedestrian accidents. Safe habits on Halloween can mean the difference between life and death for your child, so be sure to review these tips with them as well to ensure they understand the importance of Halloween safety.
- Only approve costumes that allow your child to see and be seen. Costumes that are too dark put your child at risk for being virtually invisible to a driver when the sun begins to set. Likewise, costumes that obstruct your child’s vision make it more difficult for them to spot oncoming traffic or any other dangerous situation. Pick out bright costumes that allow for fluid movement, and arm your child with a flashlight or glow sticks.
- Always accompany a child 12 years or younger, no matter how embarrassing they insist it will be. Children over the age of 12 who want to go out unsupervised should travel in large groups to familiar areas.
- Go over street safety with your child, regardless of age. Emphasize the importance of properly using crosswalks, sidewalks, and intersections.
Halloween is a night of frolic and fun, but it should always be treated with the appropriate level of caution. Recklessness and carelessness on anyone’s part—parents, children, or drivers—can lead to fatal accidents in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the spooky season, but do so safely and cautiously.