(LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23, 2007) — Even though Halloween is one of the most festive nights of the year for children, it also ranks among the most dangerous for young pedestrians. A study by the Center for Disease Control estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.
"Visibility and mobility are the most important factors of a safe Halloween costume," says Automobile Club of Southern California spokeswoman Carol Thorp. "Caregivers need to plan ahead to build safety into Halloween costumes and closely supervise their children under age 12 in traffic."
Trick-or-treaters often focus on the excitement of Halloween and forget about safety. By following these simple "safety tricks," caregivers can ensure their safety isn't "haunted" by unnecessary injuries:
- Choose costumes and accessories that are light, bright and reflective to be clearly visible.
- Add retro-reflective tape to costumes and goody bags.
- Hats, scarves and masks should not obstruct the child's vision or breathing.
- Masks created with non-toxic makeup allow for the best visibility.
- To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
- Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
- Costumes should be loose enough to wear an extra layer underneath, but try to avoid excess fabric that can snag on obstacles.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
- Comfortable shoes that fit well will make the journey safe and enjoyable.
- Look for the Flame Resistant label on costumes, fabric and accessories. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
Plan the Walk
- A responsible adult should always accompany and supervise young children under age 12 on their neighborhood rounds.
- If older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable and agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Review pedestrian and traffic safety rules with your walkers.
- Walk, slither and sneak on sidewalks, not in the street.
- If no sidewalk is available, walk on the side of the road facing traffic, so you can be seen by on-coming vehicles.
- Stop at all of the corners and look all ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks, and low-flying brooms.
- Stay in a group. Never trick-or-treat alone.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on.
- Never enter a stranger's car or house for a treat.
- Don't hide or cross between parked cars.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has been providing service since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.AAA.com.