Halloween is supposed to be spooky fun. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency departments — including University Hospital’s. It’s easy to see why.
Lots of happy, energetic kids trick-or-treating through neighborhoods after dark, their excitement overcoming any sense of caution when darting across streets to demand candy at the next available house with decorations and a bright porch light.
“Halloween can be the deadliest night of the year for our children,” said Jennifer Northway, director of University Health's Injury Prevention Program. “Make sure they are safe.”
The chances of a child being struck and killed by a car on Halloween are more than double that of any other time of the year, Northway added.
5 Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating
University Health leads Safe Kids San Antonio, the local chapter of an international organization dedicated to keeping kids safe and injury free.
Safe Kids has a few tips for making sure that nothing spoils the fun this Halloween:
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.
- Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Children younger than 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
- Use crosswalks, stick to the sidewalks and be aware of cars turning or backing up.
Drive Safe on Halloween Night
Drivers should be cautious on Halloween night, especially when driving through residential areas. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe:
- Watch for trick-or-treaters crossing mid-block, where there may be fewer streetlights.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Drivers should be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- Put your phone down and stay alert.