Halloween is an exciting holiday for kids and is often one of their favourite nights of the year. It’s a night when children can dress up, stay up late and binge on chocolate and candy. However, there are unfortunately many hazards to be aware of and to look out for during Halloween night.
DANGERS FOR PEDESTRIANS
Halloween is the deadliest night for pedestrians, according to a study by researchers from the University of British Columbia. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States from 1975 to 2016 demonstrated that the most dangerous hours during Halloween night were between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Pedestrian accidents are believed to increase on Halloween night for the following reasons:
- There are more children on the road;
- Excited children often forget about safety rules;
- Dark costumes are difficult to see;
- Masks restrict peripheral vision; and
- Halloween is a popular night for adult parties, which often involve alcohol.
According to the study, compared to any other fall night, on Halloween pedestrians have a 43% greater risk of being fatally struck by a car. Not surprisingly, children are at the highest risk of being struck by a vehicle. The study showed that children between the ages of 4 and 8 are 10 times more likely to be killed by a vehicle on Halloween than an any other night of the year.
SAFETY TIPS FOR TRICK-OR-TREATING
The three most common factors associated with any pedestrian accident are visibility, distractions and vehicle speed. Keeping this in mind, Cuming & Gillespie LLP would like to provide the following safety tips for little spooks and their parents on Halloween night.
- Be Visible: Costumes should be light coloured or have reflective patches so little trick or treaters can be seen in the dark. Reflective tape or reflective paint is recommended.
- Costume Safety: Make sure that your child’s costume fits properly and that they can walk in their costume without tripping and falling. Also, use face paint instead of a mask that can obstruct your child’s eyes or lines of vision. It is also important to wear non-flammable fabrics as most jack-o-lanterns have real candles inside. Costumes made from fabrics such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are safest.
- Follow the Rules of the Road: Ensure that while venturing out on Halloween that your children stay on the sidewalks and do not run between parked cars and jaywalk across the street. It is important to remind children to look both ways before crossing the street. Be sure to cross the street in well-lit areas and at marked intersections or crosswalks (where possible).
- Light it Up: It is also recommended to carry a flashlight, glow sticks or clip bike lights onto your child’s costume and stay in well-lit areas. You can also apply reflective tape on strollers to help keep it noticeable in the dark. Parents should also carry flashlights.
- Check the Candy: It is important to inspect your child’s entire candy bag before letting them indulge. Remind your children not to open any candy until they get home and their parents have had an opportunity to inspect it. Throw out any packages that have been opened, are homemade or repackaged.
- Travel in Groups: Younger children usually go out with their parents on Halloween. When your child is old enough to venture out on their own, make sure they are in a group. Remind your children about the risks of trick-or-treating and give them a curfew. You should also plan a route ahead of time and everyone in the group should be made aware of the route.
- Avoid Distractions: If you are a parent taking your children out for Halloween, it is important to keep distractions to a minimum and keep a careful watch on your children. It only takes a moment for your child to dart out into the street or into the path of a vehicle. Put your cell phone away and keep your eyes on your children.
- Drivers Should Be Alert and Slow Down: Driving on Halloween can be difficult given the number of increased pedestrians walking in residential areas. Do not speed in residential areas and be on the lookout for children and other pedestrians crossing the road, as they may not be crossing at intersections. Also, it is important to keep distractions, such as the use of handheld devices, to a minimum.
The personal injury lawyers at Cuming Gillespie Lawyers wish your family a fun and safe Halloween!
Should anything go wrong during Halloween, know that the lawyers at Cuming Gillespie Lawyers are available. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious personal injury, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at our office online or at 403-571-0555 for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.