Halloween is an exciting time for children. Costumes, decorations, candy and pranks are all fun to enjoy, but it is also important to be aware of the dangers posed by the Halloween season. Learn what parents can do to protect their children from Halloween accidents, and how they can protect a child’s legal rights after injury accidents do occur.
The Causes of Halloween Car Accidents - And What Parents Can Do About Them
There are many reasons why car accident rates can increase on Halloween. According to U.S. News and World Report, drinking violations increase on Halloween. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly half of all Halloween motor vehicle deaths between 2009 and 2013 were caused by drunk drivers. Of course, drivers are not the only ones who cause car accidents. Children tend to react unpredictably in the roadway. This problem is exacerbated by their excitement for the holiday, the effect of being in a large group, and the potential for impaired vision or movement by their costumes. Masks can obstruct breathing - not to mention reduce a child’s ability to watch out for traffic. (The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends using safer alternatives to masks, such as non-toxic makeup and decorative hats.) Make sure that costumes are hemmed and do not pose a tripping hazard. Shoes should have good traction, and any costume footwear should not impede a child’s movement.
In addition to ensuring their child’s costume is safe, parents should also ensure that children are taught safe traffic practices, such as: looking for traffic in all directions, staying out of the roadway, not making unpredictable movements, and only crossing at designated crosswalks. Children tend to become distracted by costumes, candy, friends and decorations. Firmly remind them to continue being aware of traffic. It can be helpful for very young children to be kept in a wagon, bike or other vehicle in order to ensure they do not wander into traffic.
Fire Hazards and Pumpkin Problems
Halloween presents many flammable products. Open flames in pumpkins and luminaries should always be closely supervised. Set them on study table or surfaces which are out of reach of children or pets. Ensure that curtains, costumes, fabrics, and other materials are clear of the flame area. Consider safer alternatives, such as battery-operated LED lights, flashlights, or glow sticks. Check to be sure your child’s costume is flame resistant or flame retardant. At the least, it should be made of non-flammable materials. Teach children to stay away from any open flame, and provide other fire safety tips.
Children should never be allowed to use sharp knives to carve pumpkins. If an older child is able to safely use the knife, close adult supervision should still be utilized. Open flames in jack-o-lanterns pose a fire hazard. Consider flashlight, glow sticks, or LED battery-powered candles instead. Pumpkins which are smashed, spoiled, or otherwise spilled can be a hazard for pedestrians, bikes, and cars passing over them. Make sure that all pumpkins are promptly picked up and disposed of after October 31.
A Troy personal injury attorney can help injury victims receive fair compensation for many Halloween accidents, including: car accidents, burns, accidental poisoning, dog bites, and slip and fall injuries.