On average, officials say twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween than on other days of the year. However, there are some simple precautions that can keep children safe.
And, Safe Kids Gwinnett and the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services (GCFES) are urging parents to prepare children to act safely and drivers to be alert.
“Parents need to talk to kids about safety before they go out trick-or-treating,” said Tania Diaz, of Safe Kids Gwinnett, in a press release from fire officials. "Many kids will be out trick-or-treating while it is dark when it is more difficult for drivers to see them."
For that reason, Diaz said that young children should not cross streets without an adult present, and older children should trick-or-treat in groups on a predetermined route with good lighting.
For drivers, they need to be extra alert as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks, and they will be more focused on candy and fun than safety, as stated in the press release.
"Safe Kids and GCFES urge drivers to slow down on neighborhood roads to make Halloween more enjoyable for everyone, but also to help save lives," said Lt. Colin Rhoden, spokesman for Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.
Top safety tips for parents:
- Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk across the street, don’t run.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Slow down and stay alert - watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
- Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child's vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
Top safety tips for drivers:
- Drive slowly in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
(Editor's Note: The above information was taken from a press release from Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services.)