Safe Kids Releases Halloween Research Study
Twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween
Safe Kids Colorado shares the newest research report on Halloween safety; a key finding shows that only one third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety. This is a first-of-its kind study on Halloween-safety, which commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll of 935 parents with children ages 12 and younger to assess their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to Halloween safety.
“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries,” says Theresa Rapstine, Safe Kids Colorado Coordinator. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”
On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. On this potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids Colorado strongly recommends that parents prepare children to behave safely and for drivers to take extra precautions.
While most of the parent participants in the study have talked to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation. Safe Kids Colorado urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child every year, to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.
According to the study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosely fitting clothing, and / or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries. These are preventable hazards that could be avoided by following Safe Kids Colorado’s safety tips.
Another key finding of this report shows twelve percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone. Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised. This recommendation was made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.
“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Rapstine. “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids Colorado will team up with Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with reflective materials to promote visibility, including zipper tags that can be attached to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, as well as important safety information to children, parents, and drivers. The Halloween study was made possible through funding provided by FedEx.
To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids Colorado and FedEx recommend the following tips to parents and caregivers:
- Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
- Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.
What Drivers Need to Know:
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
- Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit www.safekids.org and visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/safekidsusa.
In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities. This year will mark the twelfth year anniversary of the program.
For Safe Kids Denver Metro, led by Children’s Hospital Colorado, call 720-777-4807.
For Safe Kids Colorado Springs, led by Memorial Health System, call 719-365-6978.
For Safe Kids Larimer County, led by Poudre Valley Health System, call 970-495-7504.
For Safe Kids Southeastern Colorado, led by the Southeastern Colorado Regional Emergency and Trauma Advisory Council, call 719-688-2159
For Safe Kids Central Mountains, led by Summit Medical Center/Centura Health, call 970-668-2869.
ABOUT SAFE KIDS COLORADO
Safe Kids Colorado works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Colorado is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Colorado was established in 2009 and is led by Children’s Hospital Colorado. Its members include Safe Kids coalitions and chapters in the Denver Metro area, Larimer County, Colorado Springs, Southeastern Colorado and the Central Mountains.