Although kids in Columbus and across Ohio may be looking forward to Halloween, 77 percent of parents responded to surveys indicating they are concerned about the safety risk this holiday presents. Safe Kids.org reports these parents have many different worries, but 31 percent are primarily afraid their child will be struck by a car on Halloween night.
When kids plan to go trick-or-treating, and older children ask to go out alone, parents should carefully consider the risk of car and pedestrian accidents. It turns out that rather than their fear being unfounded, there is a greater risk of collisions on Halloween night. Some of this risk is due to impaired drivers and driver negligence, but there are also a few things parents can do to mitigate the risk and ensure their kids have a fun and safe night.
Car Accident Risks for Kids on Halloween
Parents who are planning for Halloween night should be aware there are double the number of children killed in pedestrian accidents on Halloween as compared with on other nights of the year. Republican Herald reports 70 percent of the pedestrian accidents involving children occur between the hours of 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
Most parents do not let their kids go trick or treating alone, with 75 percent of parents saying they always required adult supervision when their kids were out. When parents are with children, they should make sure kids do not cross the street in the middle of the road and make sure kids do not step outside from in between two parked cars into the path of oncoming vehicles.
When parents let their kids go trick-or-treating alone, this creates added risks for children. Twelve percent of parents say they have allowed kids five and under to trick-or-treat without adult supervision. While most of these children are likely with older siblings, Safe Kids warns older kids are usually not very good at watching younger kids amidst the excitement of Halloween, so there are very real car accident dangers.
Parents who let older kids go trick-or-treating alone should also be aware there is still a big risk of pedestrian accidents. While Safe Kids says the youngest age a child should be allowed out alone is age 12, Republican Herald warns kids ages 12 to 15 are actually the age group most likely to be killed in pedestrian accidents on Halloween night. Even with older children, parents should know there are significant dangers.
A big part of the reason children are at such risk of collisions on Halloween is the higher number of impaired drivers on the road. Patch reported 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night occurred in a crash with a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was in excess of the national legal limit of .08 percent BAC. No matter how careful children and parents are, they cannot mitigate or eliminate the risk of a child getting struck by an impaired driver.
Parents can try to reduce other risks for children, both when kids trick-or-treat alone and when kids trick-or-treat with adult supervision. Only 35 percent of parents talk to their kids every year about Halloween safety and parents should make a point to have this conversation every year.