Child safety advocates report that the scariest thing about Halloween isn't the elaborate costumes or the copious amounts of candy consumed: it's the increased risk for traffic accidents involving young pedestrians.
Here in Maryland and around the country, kids of all ages look forward to trick or treating as an annual childhood ritual. What's more fun than putting on a costume, and going door to door with family and friends asking neighbors for candy? However, Halloween creates a perfect storm of circumstances increasing the risk for serious and fatal pedestrian accidents. These risk factors include…
- Children, often clad in dark costumes, traveling on foot, darting in and out of the streets
- Distracted motorists (particularly young, less experienced drivers), unprepared to brake suddenly when excited trick or treaters run out from between cars and into the road
- Adults and teenagers consuming alcohol at Halloween parties, getting behind the wheel and driving drunk
With a warm fall thus far, this Halloween promises to be as popular as ever in Maryland. The US Census Bureau reported that in 2010, some 41 million children ages 5 to 14 went out trick or treating on Halloween. (This figure did not include trick-or-treating youth ages 15 and over, who are more prone to "distracted walking" pedestrian accidents due to their constant texting and cell phone use.)
A State Farm study released in 2012 named Halloween as the most dangerous holiday for children at risk for pedestrian accidents. The study looked at the 115 fatal child pedestrian accidents that occurred on Halloween holidays from 1990 to 2010. State Farm reported…
- Children ages 12 to 15 experienced the most fatalities, followed by kids ages 5 to 8
- Most fatal pedestrian accidents occurred at dusk or after dark, from 5 to 9 p.m.
- Young drivers ages 15 to 25 posed the greatest risk to pedestrians
- Most pedestrian accidents occurred in places other than intersections and crosswalks
The good news is child Halloween pedestrian accidents are going down. However the average number of 5.5 pedestrian deaths is double on Halloween compared to other days. Baltimore pedestrian accident injury lawyers will attest -- the death of any child is one too many. Statistics don't matter when you're a parent who has lost a child.
Use common sense this Halloween if you're out and about in Baltimore County, Maryland:
- Do not let children under 12 go out trick or treating without an adult.
- Dress children in brightly colored clothing so they can see each other and be seen. Use reflective tape on costumes and bags, and give them flashlights or glow sticks to carry.
- Review safety tips with older kids, who should travel in groups and stick together.
- Drivers, expect the unexpected, keep your eyes on the road and drive slow—including in city and suburban Maryland neighborhoods!
Related Maryland Accident Injury Attorney Article:
Pedestrian Injuries: The True Terror of Halloween
Children's Safety Network Oct. 24, 2013
Halloween is 'Deadliest Day' Of the Year for Child Pedestrian Fatalities
State Farm Oct. 23, 2012
Halloween Safety Tips (PDF)
National Safety Council