Halloween may be the best night of the year for children: costumes, candy, and staying up past bedtime are an unbeatable combination. Unfortunately, it has become an adult party-holiday, as well, leading to sharply increased risks for the little ones from negligent and drunk drivers.
In fact, as our Chicago auto accident attorneys know only too well, American children are an astounding four times as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other night. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are also far more likely to suffer other injuries, such as burns or eye injuries.
While those who suffer injuries caused by the negligence of others can be compensated in court, this is of course no comfort to the parents of children who are injured or killed. The best option is naturally to avoid injury in the first place.
Although parents cannot completely eliminate Halloween risks, there are steps they can take to minimize them, and to protect their children from drunk drivers and the other risks of the holidays.
The most important safety precaution you can take on Halloween is to ensure that your child is visible, and will even catch the attention of a distracted or intoxicated driver. Costumes should be brightly-colored, and equipped with reflective tape or reflective striping. Reflective tape and striping should also be added to bags, hats, and costume accessories for added visibility. Give each child and accompanying adult a flashlight loaded with fresh batteries.
You can also take steps to ensure that your child avoids injuries from falling – whether the injury comes from the fall itself or from falling into the path of a driver. Make sure all costume shoes fit well, and that the costumes themselves are not so long that a child will trip. If your child is wearing a mask or hat, ensure that it fits properly so that the child can see fully.
Children, particularly younger children, should always be accompanied by an adult when trick or treating. For older children who are permitted to go alone, agree in advance on a route that keeps the children away from busy streets where drunk drivers are likely to be, and preferably on streets with sidewalks so that children will not run afoul of drives heading home from parties to their homes in the neighborhood. Children should be required to return at a reasonable hour, before most party-going adults head home and onto the roads.
These simple precautions cannot completely eliminate the risk of injury, but they can help to reduce it. By following these rules, you can keep your children as safe as possible from negligent drives during trick or treating.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago auto accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.