In just a few weeks, many children will be hitting the streets and traveling through their neighborhoods in costume to trick-or-treat. As with all other holidays, the last thing citizens want to experience is the tragedy of an unexpected accident. Simple precautions and safety measures can ensure that your family remains safe and unharmed this Halloween.
Prevent Homeowner Hazards
The National Fire Prevention Association estimates that between 2006 and 2010, 1,000 home fires per year were caused by decorations igniting. It is important to follow manufacturer instructions and avoid overloading electrical outlets when plugging in Halloween decorations. Battery-operated candles are much safer than using regular candles.
When using wax-burning candles be sure to place them a safe distance from curtains, trees or combustible decorations and keep them out of the path of guests, children and pets where they can easily be knocked over. It is always wise to have a working fire extinguisher accessible.
Moreover, it is also important to remove accumulating debris from roofs, gutters and downspouts. Make sure walkways and driveways are clear of hazards and obstacles that could cause slip and fall accidents. Electrical wires should be taped down so they are flush with the ground and sufficient lighting is a must to keep trick or treaters safe as they cross from one property to another.
Drivers and Pedestrians Share Responsibility
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Halloween, the number of children killed in pedestrian car accidents doubles, as compared to the same hours on other days throughout the year. Distracted driving behavior increases the risk of injuring innocent children who are walking through communities collecting their Halloween treats.
Proceed with caution when entering and exiting driveways and intersections. Excited children move in unpredictable ways as they run from house to house. Stay focused on the road, especially during prime trick or treating hours.
Just as drivers should be vigilant and drive with extra caution on Halloween, pedestrians need to be aware of cars that are turning or backing up. Individuals should always stay on the sidewalk but when not available, it is safest to walk facing the traffic. Walkers need to pay attention to their surroundings by staying off of their cell phones, walking with their heads up and obeying the traffic signals. Personal injury lawyers in New Jersey know that parent and caregiver supervision is imperative to the safety of trick or treaters by instructing them not to dart into the street or between parked cars and only to cross at crosswalks.
Costume Safety and Parent Supervision
Costumes should fit properly and not impede the child’s vision. Light colors, reflective tape and flashlights or glow sticks make children more visible and easily seen by drivers. Instead of choosing a mask that can make it difficult for children to see, Halloween makeup or face paint is a smarter choice. Children under the age of 12 should always be supervised by an adult and young teens should travel in groups while sticking to familiar neighborhoods and streets.