Trick-or-treating precautions

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween is a fun time for kids, but parents need to take precautions in order to keep their little ones safe while they are trick-or-treating tonight.

State Farm has released the results of a study it commissioned that found kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

According to the information, 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on Oct. 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.

But it's not just kids who risk increased danger. The evening is also one where there are more impaired drivers on the road. According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, nationwide 41 percent of all traffic fatalities from 6 p.m. Halloween night until 6 a.m. the following morning involved a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

To combat that, many cities, counties, and states have additional patrols on Halloween.

Among other words of caution for parents include know your trick-or-treaters' route; take a flashlight; be sure costumes, shoes and treat bags are safe; remind kids not to enter strangers' homes or cars; set rules about not eating treats until kids get home, and inspect all treats before allowing kids to eat them; candy that has been opened should be thrown away, and homemade treats or fruit inspected closely; remember drivers have a hard time seeing people, especially at dusk; never cross the street from between parked cars; watch open flames from jack-o'-lanterns as they can catch costumes and long wigs on fire; and make sure that fake knives, swords and guns are made from cardboard or other flexible materials to avoid accidental injury or worse, having them mistaken for the real thing.

Drivers especially need to be aware of the increase in youngsters who are out and about on Halloween, and they should slow down and take extra precautions in order to decrease the chance of an accident.

Halloween is a fun time for kids of all ages, and by taking a few simple precautions and exercising a little common sense, we can help reduce the risk of injuries or accidents.