Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


SAFE KIDS KANSAS PROVIDES HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

Pedestrian Safety Awareness Essential for Kids on Dangerous Night of the Year

Halloween is supposed to be a spooky night, but parents don’t have to be scared about their kids’ safety if they follow some simple safety tips from Safe Kids Kansas.

With Halloween being one of the most dangerous days of the year for child pedestrians -- children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than the rest of the year -- it’s essential for parents to prepare their children properly to stay safe while trick-or-treating.

With the days getting shorter, children are likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them and the excitement of the holiday can make everyone less cautious. To keep kids safe, parents should remind them about walking safely and ensure that they will be seen by drivers this Halloween.

“Parents need to remind kids about safety while walking before they go out trick-or-treating,” says Jan Stegelman, coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. “Children should also bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags or have reflective tape on their costumes and not wear masks which may inhibit their ability to see hazards. Making sure that all kids are seen this Halloween is essential to keep this holiday fun for everyone,” says Stegelman.

As part of the Walk This Way program, local Safe Kids Coalitions and sponsor FedEx will be distributing reflective stickers and trick-or-treat bags to children across the state, as well as providing important safety information to parents and caregivers at community events.

Tips for Parents

Safe Kids recommends that children under age 10 do not trick-or-treat without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting. Parents must also remind kids to:

  • Cross streets safely . Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Don’t assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk; don’t run, across the street.
  • Walk on well- lit sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk in familiar areas with minimal street crossings.
  • Be a safe pedestrian around cars . Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Tips for Drivers

Drivers need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm. Safe Kids also reminds motorists to be extra careful this Halloween and recommends that drivers:

  • Be especially alert. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period, between 5:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Drive more slowly . Slow down and anticipate heavier than usual pedestrian traffic.
  • Lights on. Be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.

Although pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents also need to keep in mind that there are other hazards for their children on this holiday. Parents must check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. To prevent costume fires, keep jack-o’-lanterns that are lit with candles away from doorsteps and walkways, and consider using glow sticks instead of candles. Finally, Safe Kids Kansas suggests that parents look for non-flammable costumes and non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup.

For more tips on how to keep kids safe while walking on Halloween and throughout the year, visit www.safekids.org/.

The Safe Kids Walk This Way program was created by Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx in the United States in 1999 to bring awareness to children pedestrian safety issues.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Kansas was founded in 1991 and is led by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information, visit www.safekidskansas.org.