The magic of Halloween is firmly embedded in the American subconscious -- which may be why trick-or-treating is still an important event every year in a lot of neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, there are some statistics about Halloween that might make you less-than-enthusiastic about the holiday this year.
Children are twice as likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than on any other day during the year. Despite the fact that three-fourths of parents are concerned about Halloween safety, only about one-third of parents will actually talk to their children about safety issues before they go out.
Parents are also failing to take some important steps to protect their children during Halloween events. Only about 18 percent of parents put reflective tape on their children's trick or treat outfits to help ensure their visibility to passing motorists. Even more worrisome, a significant portion of very young children -- 12 percent -- will be out there trick-or-treating on their own.
To protect your children from a serious -- or deadly -- pedestrian accident with a passing vehicle this Halloween, take the following steps:
- Commit to taking your child trick-or-treating yourself. Nobody can watch over your child as well as you can.
- Insist that your children cross streets with you. If you are going in a group, make sure that the group knows to stay together.
- Make use of sidewalk signs and signals, and cross at the corners. Don't jaywalk -- it's too easy for a driver to overlook you that way!
- Use reflective tape on shoes, coats, cloaks and candy bags. That will help motorists spot your children even in dim light.
- Stick to areas that are well-lit. Plan your trick-or-treating for a neighborhood that has plenty of streetlights and sidewalks.
- If you must walk somewhere without a sidewalk, hold hands with your child and walk on the far edge of the street, facing oncoming traffic. That's the best way to be visible to drivers.
Finally, have a chat about safety with your children just before you head out the door to collect your treats. The reminder is unlikely to dampen their mood -- and it could help them be more conscious of your concerns.
If you or your children are injured by a negligent driver while trick-or-treating, an attorney can help safeguard your rights and explain your legal options.