Halloween is here. Streets and sidewalks across the country will be filled with ghosts, ghouls, witches and zombies out trick-or-treating. What danger will they be facing this Halloween? Is it the possibility that they will eat candy laced with poison or filled with needles or razorblades?
Despite the warnings we receive every Halloween regarding the possibilities of poisoned candy, snopes.com says that there appears to be little evidence of such things actually occurring. There does appear to be some history of pins and razor blades finding their way into some treats, but according to snopes.com the number of recorded incidents perpetrated by strangers is quite low.
Is there a significant danger of your child being molested or abducted?
Kristen Anderson, director of the case analysis division for sex offender tracking at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reported that, “only nine non-family child abductions were reported in the United States between 29 October and 1 November over a 5-year period, none of which appeared to have any connection to trick-or-treating.”
What is so dangerous about Halloween?
Sperling’s BestPlaces indicates that the real danger on Halloween involves crossing the street!
They analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31 and came up with a number of revealing statistics.
1. Halloween Was Deadliest Day of the Year for Child Pedestrian Accidents.
One hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of our analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.
2. The “Deadliest Hour” Nearly one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Over 60% of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
3. Middle of the Block Most Hazardous. Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
4. Ages Most at Risk on Halloween. Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).
5. Drivers Who Posed the Greatest Risk. Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
What can you do to prevent you or a loved one from being the victim of a traffic accident?
1. Don’t wear a mask that will limit your vision. Non-toxic face paint used properly can be scarier than any mask.
2. Make sure the costume you or your child wears is bright enough to be seen at night and does not impede mobility. If you are trying to get out of the way of a driver who isn’t paying attention it helps if you don’t trip over your costume.
3. Coach your kids not to cross in the middle of the street and especially not to run out from between parked cars.
4. Adults, if you are going to be out partying take a cab. Walking while intoxicated on the second most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians is not a good idea.
5. Don’t Assume! Just because you are in a crosswalk with the light doesn’t mean an on coming car will stop. The City of Chicago’s recent analysis of vehicle-pedestrian crashes found that almost 80 percent of those accidents occurred in or near crosswalks, often involving people who were crossing with the “walk” signal.
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