By Brian Herrick, Sgt.
RCMP NCO i/c Blackfalds Integrated Traffic Services
Tips for parents and caregivers
Halloween can be an exciting time for children and with the distraction of candy and costumes, safety rules can easily be forgotten. In fact, research shows that distractions can increase a child’s chances of being struck by a car. Check out these simple tips to keep Halloween night a safe night for all.
1. An adult or responsible older child should accompany younger children since they may lack the developmental skills to cross the street on their own. This is a year-round tip that will help keep your child safe while you share good pedestrian habits and pass on a legacy of safety-minded behaviour.
2. Teach your child to stop at the curb, look left, right and left again, and to listen for oncoming traffic. This vital skill is especially important when children are distracted and excited. Never rely on traffic signals alone – use your eyes and ears to make sure it’s safe to cross.
3. It’s unsafe to cross between parked cars or other obstacles – always cross at crosswalks, street corners or intersections. Many injuries occur when children run out between parked cars, but even at intersections it’s vital that children practice tip #2.
4. Stay on the sidewalk or path when walking from house to house and if there is no sidewalk, walk beside the road, facing traffic so drivers can see you. From a very young age, children can be taught that roads are for cars and sidewalks are for kids. If your community has no sidewalks, walking beside the road at night can be very dangerous – adult accompaniment and flashlights are a must, regardless of the child’s age.
5. Select costumes with bright colours to increase your child’s visibility and choose face paint instead of masks. Masks can make it hard for your child to see properly and often restrict peripheral vision, making it difficult to check for oncoming traffic before crossing a road.
Tips for drivers
Halloween means that there will be more children out on the streets. Drivers need to take extra care.
1. Drive slowly in residential areas where children are more likely to be trick-or-treating. Did you know that drivers cannot accurately judge their own speed when driving? The higher the speed, the less likely you are to see a child pedestrian, and the harder it is to stop quickly.
2. Watch out for kids, many of whom may be wearing costumes with masks that make it difficult for them to see. With the excitement of Halloween, children may forget simple pedestrian safety rules. They have a tendency to dart out in the most unexpected places – the most common being between parked cars. Remember also that costumes can limit a child’s vision and they may not be able to see your vehicle. w
3. Reduce your distractions and stay alert. All your concentration should be on the road, not diverted by cell phones or loud music.
4. Remember to enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully. Excited trick-or-treaters may run on sidewalks, or dart out unexpectedly. Proceed with caution, when entering or exiting the roadway.