by Christopher Boyle
LONG ISLAND, NY – Halloween has always represented one of the most fun-filled times of the year for many youth, but unfortunately, it also represents a period of both danger and avoidable injuries when the time-honored traditions of trick-or-treating and costumes are not approached with a degree of caution and care as well. There are a great number of issues that can rear their ugly heads during Halloween, and it only takes a split-second error or distraction to result in unfortunate circumstances and serious injury for a child simply out to have fun.
There are a number of time-worn safety tips to adhere to come Halloween, courtesy of law firm Cohen and Jaffe and their years of experience in the realm of personal injury lawsuits. While parents want to keep in mind that Halloween is meant to be a fun and frightening experience for youngsters, taking heed of these simple guidelines will drastically reduce the chances of bumps, bruises, or worse while infringing on the excitement as little as possible.
Trick-or-treating can make for a great time, but it also can expose children to a number of properties, homes, and individuals they are unfamiliar with; with unknown can come danger if caution is not taken. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Trick-or-Treat with an Adult: Encounters with strangers can be a major issue when engaging in Halloween festivities, so children ages 12 and under should never go out alone on Halloween for trick-or-treating; they should always have a responsible adult walking with them at all times, especially if they venture into a neighborhood that is unfamiliar. Children older than 12 that are allowed to trick-or-treat should nonetheless adhere to common sense safety practices, including remaining in neighborhoods that they know, staying in a group, and sticking to well-lit areas.
The hazards posed by strangers cannot be overstated; older children and some adults are known to be pranksters on Halloween, and there are numerous reports of frightened children suffering an injury while fleeing from a particularly bad scare, even one made in simple jest. In addition, the Halloween season also gives rise to the number of incidents involving both bullies and predators, many of whom prey upon the younger set, so remaining with a responsible adult at all times (or a group of friends or guardians if an order child) is a must for kids when it comes to playing it safe on Halloween.
Exercise Traffic Safety: With the excitement that comes with Halloween may also come a moment of neglect or carelessness; when this happens in an area with a high concentration of automobiles, that’s a recipe for disaster. Always cross streets at corners while using traffic signals ad crosswalks, and make sure to look left, right, and left again before crossing. Cell phones and other electronic devices should be put away so as to not distract attention and eyesight elsewhere when crossing any roadway, and making eye contact with stopped drivers before venturing out into the street is highly recommended. Always remain on sidewalks and pathways, and remain vigilant for cars that may be backing up out of driveways.
Make Sure Costumes are Both Creative and Safe: Be it a store-bought costume or something home-made, costumes are a major staple of the Halloween season. However, care should be put into making sure that they do not represent a danger to your children by interfering with their vision or mobility when they head out for an evening of Trick-or-Treating with friends or family members. If possible, decorate costumes or treat bags – which should be light in color, if possible – with reflective decals or tape so that they stand out to approaching motorists; in addition, glow sticks are helpful as well. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, making it hard for them to see vehicles and other potential threats; face paint makes a festive and safer alternative. And finally, sizing when it comes to costumes is vital; one that is too big can present a tripping or falling hazard, and one that is too small can restrict mobility when it’s needed most.
Distracted Driving: Now more than ever, drivers are faced with a plethora of distractions while driving; cell phone calls, texting, and GPS use are among the many every-day things that may pry concentration away from the roadway and are to be avoided at all costs. However, add in the additional issues that driving during the Halloween season may present – including elaborately decorated homes, front-yard parties, and groups of people sporting eye-catching costumes – the odds of a potential accident are increased exponentially. It is the responsibility of drivers to remain cognizant of the road and everything in it at all times while not engaging in unlawful distractions such as cell phone use; likewise, it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their children are properly supervised and exercise good traffic safety sense.
Drivers should drive slowly in residential neighborhoods come Halloween time, as kids can often move with unpredictability; also take extra time stopping at stop signs and intersections, as well as when entering and exiting driveways and alleys. Popular trick-or-treating hours are typically between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Animal Encounters: Last but not least, trick-or-treating can make for a great time, but it also can expose children to a number of properties, homes, and individuals that they are unfamiliar with; and with the unknown can come danger if caution is not taken. While most homeowners are well-meaning, the frequency that doors open and close while tending to young trick-or-treaters can result in a family pet – such as a dog, who may react negatively to a perceived trespasser – if getting loose, the results could be a painful animal bite or worse, so children and their parents or guardians should always be wary about approaching an unknown house, and they should never go near or pet a dog or other animal that they do not personally know. According to reports, over 800,000 people every year – nearly half of that number being children – suffer from animal bites that result in a trip to the doctor at Halloween time.
Hurt During Halloween? Contact Our Team of Personal Injury Attorneys: Above all else, Halloween should be a source of family-friendly excitement and wonder for kids and adults of all ages, and by adhering to our aforementioned common sense safety tips, you should keep your risk of any issues at a minimum. However, should you become hurt or injured through no fault of your own – or the neglect, indifference, or willful act of another – while out enjoying the Halloween holiday, call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at 1-866-878-6774 now or fill out our simple form for a free consultation.