Whitehead & Chiocca, PLC Aug. 26, 2017

A common misconception about your child’s safety around Halloween is that the most dangerous issue they face is damaged or unwrapped candies. However, there has not been an injury case like this reported in years, though parents should still be cautious. The biggest concern on Halloween is actually injury or death resulting from pedestrian accidents.

Halloween is the second most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians

Halloween is such an enjoyable time of year: It’s the start of the holiday season filled with candy, costumes, fantasy, and excitement. Children are excited and frantically running from door to door and across streets to trick or treat.

Most trick or treating occurs during rush hour when commuters are returning home from work, and festivities continue into the evening hours after sunset. This leaves the little ghouls and goblins roaming the streets in search of treats a little less safe and visible.

A study administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrated that from 1975 to 1996 the number of young pedestrian deaths was four times higher on Halloween compared to any other evening during the same time frame.

What can you do to protect your child this Halloween?

  • Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by an adult, and it is much safer to travel in groups which would be more visible to drivers. Small children lack adequate skills to cross the streets safely, and cannot process dangerous traffic patterns like adults. Their small stature limits their speed for crossing the street as well as their visibility to motorists.

  • Often children will dart into the street from between parked cars and will choose the quickest route across rather than the safest. On top of this, they are outfitted in unfamiliar costumes and masks that may restrict movement or inhibit clear visibility.

  • It’s More Than Just “Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street”

  • The stopping distance on a speeding car usually exceeds the visibility that headlights provide. Some cautionary advice to your children will keep them aware and safe, leaving the worries to your dentist.

  • Choose a route in the neighborhood that will take them up one side of the street, cross at the crosswalk, and continue down the other side of the street.

  • If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that it fits well and that the eye holes are large enough to ensure adequate peripheral vision.

  • Choose a costume that is well-fitted and not billowy so that the child does not trip and fall.

  • Outfit the costume with retro-reflective tape so that they can be seen by drivers. Retro-reflectors bounce light from headlights back into the direction of oncoming cars, making them very effective.

  • Make sure each child has a flashlight.

  • Caution youngsters about lawn ornaments or Jack o’ Lanters which they could easily trip over, and advise them to walk on sidewalks instead of cutting across yards.

  • Attach emergency contact information to your child’s costume in case they get separated from the group.

We can help if your child was injured by a motorist

If you are in Virginia and your child was hurt in a car accident, the experienced team at Whitehead & Chiocca can help you with your difficult case. You don’t have to battle insurance companies and juggle hospital bills on your own. Contact us and let our lawyers assist you during this challenging time.