Children are four times more likely to be involved in fatal road accidents over Halloween night, data has revealed.
Road safety experts at Road Angel are calling for all road users to be aware of the greater risks and exercise caution to ensure children stay safe during trick-or-treating.
Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year when it comes to road traffic crashes invloving children.
This is because kids are outdoors trick-or-treating in the dark, walking along pavements and crossing streets, often unaccompanied by their parents.
Children are particularly vulnerable on the roads, as their cognitive and sensory skills to recognise traffic dangers are likely to not be as developed as those of adults.
Road safety groups warn that 12% of children under five years old are out trick-or-treating without adult supervision, despite this age being too young for kids to safely venture out on their own.
The guidance provided by RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) suggests that parents may consider allowing their children to travel independently when they reach the age of eight or nine, but even then it’s crucial to ensure they have a good understanding of road safety.
However, figures show that only less than a third of parents educate their kids about safety rules before they go trick-or-treating.
As the clocks go back just a few days before Halloween night, the darker evenings further increase the risk of pedestrians being involved in road accidents..
On Halloween night, the likelihood of paediatric traffic casualties during the hour between 5 pm to 6 pm is 34.2%, higher than on any other day and time.
With reduced visibility in the dark night, parents should make sure their children are wearing reflective clothing or have reflective tape on their costumes.
Research suggests only 18% of parents utilise reflective tape on their children’s costumes, leaving kids susceptible to not being seen by other road users on dimly lit roads.
Gary Digva, founder of road safety experts Road Angel said: “Despite Halloween being a fun time for kids going trick-or-treating, the dark night increases the risk for children on the roads.
“The combination of decreased visibility due to darker evenings and nighttime festivities, the excitement of trick-or-treating, and increased pedestrian activity can heighten car accident risks.
“With kids being four times more vulnerable to being involved in a road accident on Halloween night, we’re urging parents and drivers to do what they can to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
“Children should be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating, as navigating the streets at night can pose significant risks.
“Before allowing older children to go trick-or-treating on their own, parents should consider if their kids are sufficiently educated about road safety rules.
“Reinforce the ‘look both ways before crossing’ rule and teach them to use designated crosswalks.
“It’s also important to consider costumes with reflective elements or add reflective tape to enhance visibility, especially as evenings grow darker following the end-of-October clock change.
“Furthermore, drivers must exercise extreme caution, obey speed limits, and remain vigilant for children on streets.
“Halloween can be a fun and safe holiday if we all work together to prioritise road safety.”
Here are five tips from Road Angel to ensure a safe and enjoyable Halloween for kids:
- Accompany young children
For younger children, always have an adult accompany them while trick-or-treating. This will help guarantee they stay safe and follow road safety rules.
- Use reflective elements
Incorporate reflective tape or clothing with reflective elements into your child’s costume. This significantly enhances their visibility to drivers, especially in dark conditions.
- Plan well-lit routes
Opt for well-lit routes and steer clear of unfamiliar areas. Knowing the neighbourhood well can help you plan a safer route.
- Educate children on road safety rules
Teach the kids to look both ways before crossing streets, use designated pedestrian crossings and remind them to never dart out into traffic. Reinforce the importance of traffic signals and staying on pavements.
- Driver awareness
On Halloween, it’s crucial for drivers to exercise heightened caution by strictly adhering to speed limits and maintaining a vigilant eye for children on the roads, particularly in residential areas.