If you are a typical resident of the greater Phoenix area, odds are that either you have children living at home or that there are children living in your neighborhood. With a large number of kids in the Valley, it may seem like safety is a top concern among parents and residents. But as Halloween approaches, it is important to remember how a holiday can have a significant impact on the threats that face our most vulnerable citizens.
Soon, children will be taking to their neighborhoods to trick-or-treat, usually walking from home to home as they try to collect candy. This tradition is anticipated by kids and parents alike but the threats to safety that accompany Halloween should be considered. Pedestrian accidents are concerning because the large number of people walking means that drivers must be on alert at crosswalks, intersections, and even mid-block in the case that a child darts out into traffic.
If you are planning on taking your children trick-or-treating or if you will be participating in other Halloween activities, consider the following:
- Stay away from high traffic areas: If possible, keep children away from areas with high traffic and instead, opt for neighborhoods or other organized trick-or-treating activities. Traffic near areas with increased speed limits are less likely to anticipate the presence of pedestrians and therefore may be less likely to yield to a walker. As it is best to prevent a crash before one takes place, consider keeping your children in residential areas or in areas with restricted access to traffic.
- Use costumes with lights or reflective material: When a pedestrian accident takes place, drivers often claim they never saw a person walking until after the crash occurred. To eliminate this excuse and to make all drivers aware, consider using a costume with glow sticks, a flashlight, or reflective material so that your child can be seen by vehicles from a safe distance.
- Plan your route: If you are taking your child trick-or-treating, make sure you pick a route that will allow your child to cross at designated crosswalks and that reduces the interactions with automobile traffic as much as possible. If your child is old enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision, make sure you discuss a safe route ahead of time so your child knows where to go, where to avoid, and what route will be safe to travel.
This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, a day commonly associated with adults consuming alcohol and a large number of drunk drivers on the road. While drinking and driving is a criminal act that can be blamed on the motorists behind the wheel, others can suffer if that driver causes a crash. Parents should be aware of this treat and make sure that their children are at home or otherwise safe prior to the late hours of Halloween night.