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Be Safe & Be Seen This Halloween

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Be Safe & Be Seen This Halloween

Parents know how important it is to keep their children safe year-round, and as we enter the fall season there is a new set of risks that parents should be aware of. Darkness descends earlier in fall and winter months, which is a key factor related to the increase in pedestrian collisions that occur November through February. In 2019, about 15,000 children birth to 19 years old suffered a nonfatal pedestrian injury as a result of a motor vehicle crash. However, there are some simple steps that parents and children can take in the home and on the road to stay safe!

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Parents know how important it is to keep their children safe year-round, and as we enter the fall season there is a new set of risks that parents should be aware of. Darkness descends earlier in fall and winter months, which is a key factor related to the increase in pedestrian collisions that occur November through February. In 2019, about 15,000 children birth to 19 years old suffered a nonfatal pedestrian injury as a result of a motor vehicle crash. However, there are some simple steps that parents and children can take in the home and on the road to stay safe!

The first thing to keep in mind not just at this time of year, but all year round, is that children under the age of 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Developmentally, most children under the age of 10 are unable to properly judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars, so it is vital to have an adult with them. Teaching them to look left, right, then left again while continuing to monitor and make eye contact with the driver is also an important pedestrian safety tip. Talk to your child about discontinuing use of electronics, air pods, or other things that would distract them while they are walking or riding bikes. Remember, heads up phones down to prevent a tragedy! Parking lots, driveways, and parallel-parked cars are a common injury location for little ones who dart in between and are not aware of the risk. Teach children to cross at sidewalks and corners, using crosswalks and traffic signals when available. Finally, always remember children model their parent’s behavior! So next time you are walking across the street or in a parking lot, ensure you are setting a good example for your child by modeling safe behaviors. 

As Halloween is rapidly approaching, it is good to have discussions with your children about how to be proactive and safe while still having a great Halloween! According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children under 12 years old should be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating. It is also important when picking a costume for your child to ensure they will be seen at night, as most activities tend to happen as it starts getting dark. Adding some reflective strips or stickers not only adds a protective layer of safety, but it can also be a creative way to add decoration to your costume! When wearing reflectors, pedestrians can be seen from 500 feet away, which gives the driver more reaction time. Adding as many layers of protection and increasing visibility when walking at night can help drivers and pedestrians stay safe and alert. Staying alert also means keeping your children’s vision clear and unobstructed, so keep that in mind when picking a Halloween mask! Also, to avoid any preventable trips and falls, ensure costumes fit properly and do not inhibit their ability to walk. Drivers should be extra cautious during any Halloween activities by driving slowly, removing distractions, using headlights, and staying aware of the heavy pedestrian traffic. Staying safe and having fun can easily coexist when following a few of these simple steps.

The fall season can be an extremely fun time to be outside with your child enjoying the changing weather! Always remember how important it is to equip them with all the proper pedestrian safety knowledge so that they feel comfortable and well-informed when they begin walking on their own. Safe Kids Northeast Florida wishes everybody a safe and fun fall season this year, just remember to be safe and be seen!

Please check out wolfsonchildrens.com/safekids for more resources and safety tips!

Danielle Carlino, Health Educator, Safe Kids Northeast Florida with THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

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