October is National Pedestrian Safety Month
Oct. 20, 2021
As autumn days grow cooler and the days are shorter, we all look forward to celebrating fun holidays through the season. Halloween can be considered the first celebration of fall. Since Halloween brings children out in our neighborhoods and on our streets for trick-or-treating, a few safety tips are helpful to keep pedestrians – especially children – safe from harm.
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, and it has been designated such primarily because Halloween brings more pedestrians out on the streets. Halloween night has been identified as a potentially deadly day for children. While urban legends like razor blades, poison doctored candy and now marijuana edibles finding their way into your child’s Halloween bucket persist, the biggest threat to children’s safety on this hallmark childhood holiday is traffic.
In 2019, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers evaluated data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found that the incidence of pedestrian fatality increased on Halloween night. Using data from the NHTSA reporting system, the researchers looked at pedestrian fatalities from Halloween evening (5 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31) each year. They compared the number of pedestrian fatalities that occurred on Oct. 31 each year with the number that occurred during the same hours on control evenings one week earlier (Oct. 24) and one week later (Nov. 7). They observed that 608 pedestrian fatalities occurred on the 42 Halloween evenings whereas 851 occurred on the 84 control evenings. According to the study findings, “[t]he relative risk of a pedestrian fatality was 43 [percent] higher on Halloween compared with control evenings.”
While the likelihood of a child being struck and injured or killed by a car on Halloween is still low, the increased likelihood of a fatal injury does warrant reflection and caution. Bear in mind these tips from Safe Kids Worldwide to keep your children and your neighbors safe from harm this Halloween.
Tips for Pedestrians:
Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
Put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them
Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Join kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Tips for Drivers:
Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
Get rid of any distractions - like your phone - in your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Be especially alert for kids during those hours.
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