Halloween is an exciting time in West Michigan for kids and youth alike… elaborate costumes, trick or treating and free candy! But while scary movies and decorations might be a welcome addition this time every year, the terrifying risk of a child being struck by an automobile is one doctors and safety officers say families don’t think about enough. Yet according to recent studies, the risk of kids being hit by a car is higher on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Have fun while staying safe by following these important rules on Halloween safety for parents, kids and drivers.
Tips For Parents
- Light ’em up: Help your child be more visible when it’s dimly lit or dark outside by adding reflective tape to trick or treat bags and costumes, and by giving your child a glow stick or flashlight to use.
- Never travel alone: The old adage ‘there’s safety in numbers’ could not apply more on Halloween night. By traveling in groups, it helps increase the odds of your child being seen by a driver in a passing vehicle because a large group of people walking together will stick out faster than a single person walking down the street.
- Be smart: Walking in the road when there are available sidewalks or crossing in the middle of the street instead of at the corner of an intersection only increases the risk of being unseen and therefore hit by a vehicle as it drives down the road. Regardless of age, remind your kids to be smart and use everyday safety measures when they are out for the night.
- Choose wisely: While it may be tempting to get a larger costume in an attempt to use multiple years, it’s smarter to choose one that fits well and is not loose fitting to avoid getting caught on objects or causing them to trip and fall. It’s also a good idea when possible, to use face paint instead of having a your child wear a mask that might impede their vision.
- Know where they are going: For older kids who plan on trick or treating with a group of friends and without an adult, parents should know what their intended path will be, when they will be leaving and returning, and who they what friends they plan on trick or treating with.
Tips For Kids
- Be aware of surroundings: Trick or treating should be fun but that doesn’t mean safe practices should be forgotten. Always be aware of your surrounds including nearby vehicles and strangers. Look both ways and use caution while crossing the road and avoid walking in the road when possible. If sidewalks are not available, be sure to walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic and as close to the side of the street as possible.
- Keep an eye out: Make sure wigs, masks and beards do not infringe on being able to see clearly.
- Stranger danger: Remember to only approach houses with their porch lights on and never enter homes or vehicles that you do not know.
Tips For Drivers
- Use extreme caution: Drive slowly and be prepared to stop at any moment, particularly in neighborhoods where children may be trick or treating. Remember that kids are excited on Halloween and may impulsively dart in between parked vehicles and across the road.
- Zero distractions: There is never a good time to drive distracted but on Halloween night where so many kids will be on area roadways, there can be none. Put your cell phone away and stay alert while behind the wheel if you find yourself on the road.
- Yield the right of way: Remember that pedestrians have the right of way when a vehicle is crossing sidewalks and that although pedestrians are supposed to yield the right of way while crossing outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. young, excited children may forget to do so, Err on the side of caution and stop when necessary to avoid hitting anyone.
- Communicate with others: Be certain to use your headlights to increase your vehicle’s visibility and always use your turn signals to communicate your intentions to nearby drivers and pedestrians.
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