Around 35 million children, between five and 13 years old, go trick-or-treating every year in the U.S. Children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween compared to any other day of the year.
Statistics show 23 percent of fatalities occur with children between the ages of five and eight; and 70 percent of accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk.
Whether you’re going door-to-door, driving or passing out treats at home, State Farm wants to keep your little princesses, pirates, and police officers safe this Halloween with these tips:
If you’re going door-to-door
- Always accompany young children.
- Exercise great caution during the “scariest” hours: between 5 and 9 p.m. It is especially dangerous for pedestrian accidents between 6 pm and 7 pm.
- Stick to neighborhoods with sidewalks. If you must walk on the street, keep to the far left, facing traffic.
- Practice safe crossing procedures: Use crosswalks; wait for corners; and look left, right and left again before crossing.
- Stick reflective tape onto costumes to make your child more visible. Also have him or her carry a flashlight.
- Make sure costumes and shoes are the correct size to prevent tripping. Use face paint and leave the masks at home: They can obstruct vision.
- If an older child is venturing out without supervision, ask that he or she go with a group, discuss the route and agree on a curfew. Give older kids cell phones so they can stay in touch.
- If you’re driving
- Drive slowly
- Be alert for children and eliminate in-car distractions.
- Practice extra caution at intersections and corners.
- Pull in and out of driveways carefully.
- Discuss these and other driving pointers with your teen driver. Drivers ages 15-25 were involved in approximately one-third of fatal crashes involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
- If you’re handing out treats
- Keep your home brightly lit indoors and outside.
- Clear debris and other obstacles from your lawn, sidewalks and steps.
- Opt for battery-operated candles in jack-o’-lanterns or other areas where costumed trick-or-treaters might stand.
- Keep pets kenneled or in another room.
In addition to protecting children from accidents, remind kids of stranger danger on Halloween. Teach children to visit only well-lit homes, to avoid dark streets and to not enter unknown homes. Kids should show their candy to parents before eating it. Homemade treats from people they don’t know shouldn’t be eaten.
Kim Conyers is a public affairs representative for State Farm Insurance.