Neighborhoods in the Chicago area are sporting pumpkins, gourds, and ghoulish decor, indicating that Halloween is just over a week away. While Halloween may be a time-honored tradition among American children, it is not always a safe day for kids who choose to trick-or-treat or who spend time outdoors. With threats from passing vehicles, poorly lit intersections, and a frenzied atmosphere of children and adults, pedestrian accidents may occur and may cause injuries.
When a child is injured in a pedestrian collision, it can be difficult to know what legal options may be available or where to turn for help. As the facts of every incident vary, speaking with a personal injury lawyer may provide you with the information you need if an accident has affected the life of your child. But the best thing to do is to avoid an accident whenever possible, and to help this year, the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. want to remind everyone of the following safety tips:
- Dress for the conditions: In most cases, children will be walking outside at night. This means that darkness may have fallen prior to trick-or-treating or that it will fall during the time kids will be walking. Even if a child is trick-or-treating indoors, he or she may have to walk to get to a location, meaning that darkness may still be a factor. Prepare for dark conditions by including reflective material in a child's costume or as an accessory or have your child wear or carry a small light, like a flashlight. While the darkness may not obscure a child's ability to see where he or she is walking, it can make it much more difficult for passing cars to notice a pedestrian and can increase the odds of a collision occurring if safety measures are not followed.
- Only cross a street in a designated crosswalk: Children who practice pedestrian safety regularly may be aware that they should cross only at a crosswalk, but during trick-or-treating, the nature of the night might make kids too excited to think safety first. It is a good idea to remind them to focus on safety and to reiterate that, regardless of what other children are doing, they should never dart out into a street and should only cross a road when they have the right-of-way at a crosswalk. Dart out accidents occur across the country during Halloween because excited children forget that cars may be in the area. Talk to your children before they leave the house to remind them that vehicles present a danger to pedestrians.
- Send kids out with an adult or in a group: While it may not always be cool to spend Halloween with your parents, younger children should always have adult supervision during trick-or-treating. An adult can help keep children safe and can make sure that no one gets lost or confused in the shuffle. Older children may not need adult supervision but it is a good idea to make sure they do not walk alone. Consider sending older children out with a group of friends or neighbors and make sure they stay together as the night progresses.
- Plan a trick-or-treating route ahead of time: Consider where it will be safe and where it will be dangerous for your children to walk during Halloween and plan out a safe route with them ahead of time. In an ideal situation, a child will know where he or she should walk and which houses to visit before trick-or-treating begins.