Only one-third of parents talk to their children each year about how to stay safe on Halloween, a study released by the Safe Kids Fayette County Program has found, even though on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed during the holiday than on any other other day of the year. (Photo by zirconicusso)
"Given children's limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries," said Sherri Hannan, a nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County. "By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages."
Of the 935 parents surveyed, most said they had talked to their kids at some point about Halloween safety but don't make it an annual conversation. The study also showed 40 percent of parents allow their children to use one or more unsafe items on Halloween, such as a mask, loose-fitting clothing and/or a sharp object.
The study found that 12 percent of children 5 or younger are allowed to trick-or-treat without an adult. "It is alarming to hear that children ages 5 years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision," Hannan said. "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."
To keep children safe, Safe Kids recommends:
• Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
• Children and parents should always walk on sidewalks or paths. In the absence of those, they should walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Parents and children should cross at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
• Costumes and trick-or-treat bags should be decorated with reflective tape or stickers.
• Parents should check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapped is faded, torn or unwrapped.
• Drivers should slow down and be especially alert in neighborhoods.
• Drivers should anticipate heavy traffic and turn on their headlights early in the day.
• Drivers should reduce distractions while driving and pay attention to the road.