Safe Kids Releases First-of-Its Kind Halloween Research Study

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“Twice As Many Child Pedestrians Are Killed While Walking on Halloween” ~ SafeKids.org Press Release 10/20/2011

Washington, DC – New Safe Kids research shows only one third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety.  To complete this first-of-its kind study on Halloween-safety, Safe Kids commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll of 935 parents with children ages 12 and younger to assess their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to Halloween safety.

On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.  On this potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids strongly recommends that parents prepare children to behave safely and for drivers to take extra precautions.

While most of the parent participants in the study have talked to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation.  Safe Kids urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child, every year to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.

“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries,” says Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”

According to the study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosing fitting clothing, and / or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries.  These are preventable hazards that could be avoided by following Safe Kids’ safety tips.

Another key finding of this report shows twelve percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone.  Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised.  This recommendation was made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.

“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Carr.  “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”

In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids coalitions across the country will team up with Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with reflective materials to promote visibility, including zipper tags that can be attached to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, as well as important safety information to children, parents, and drivers.  The Halloween study was made possible through funding provided by FedEx.

To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids and FedEx recommend the following tips to parents and caregivers:

Trick-or-Treating Safety:

Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
Always walk on sidewalks or paths.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.  Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.

What Drivers Need to Know:

Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.  Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit http://www.safekids.org and visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/safekidsusa.

In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities.  This year will mark the twelfth yeah anniversary of the program.

As read on: http://www.safekids.org/our-work/news-press/press-releases/safe-kids-releases.html

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