Child safety Halloween Safety Personal Safety personal safety tips

What are the real dangers trick-or-treaters face on Halloween?

Halloween is here. Streets and sidewalks across the country will be filled with ghosts, ghouls, witches and zombies out trick-or-treating. What danger will they be facing this Halloween? Is it the possibility that they will eat candy laced with poison or filled with needles or razorblades?

 What real dangers do these trick-or-treaters really need to worry about on Halloween . The night crew by kreg.steppe via Creative Commons

What real dangers do these trick-or-treaters really need to worry about on Halloween . The night crew by kreg.steppe via Creative Commons

Despite the warnings we receive every Halloween regarding the possibilities of poisoned candy, says that there appears to be little evidence of such things actually occurring. There does appear to be some history of pins and razor blades finding their way into some treats, but according to the number of recorded incidents perpetrated by strangers is quite low.

Is there a significant danger of your child being molested or abducted?

Kristen Anderson, director of the case analysis division for sex offender tracking at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reported that, “only nine non-family child abductions were reported in the United States between 29 October and 1 November over a 5-year period, none of which appeared to have any connection to trick-or-treating.”

What is so dangerous about Halloween?

Sperling’s BestPlaces indicates that the real danger on  Halloween involves crossing the street!
They analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31 and came up with a number of revealing statistics.

1. Halloween Was Deadliest Day of the Year for Child Pedestrian Accidents.
One hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of our analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.

2. The “Deadliest Hour” Nearly one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Over 60% of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

3. Middle of the Block Most Hazardous.  Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.

4. Ages Most at Risk on Halloween. Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).

5. Drivers Who Posed the Greatest Risk. Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.

What can you do to prevent you or a loved one from being the cause or the victim of a traffic accident?

1. Don’t wear a mask that will limit your vision. Non-toxic face paint used properly can be scarier than any mask.

2. Make sure the costume you or your child wears is bright enough to be seen at night and does not impede mobility. If you are trying to get out of the way of a driver who isn’t paying attention it helps if you don’t trip over your costume.

3. Coach your kids not to cross in the middle of the street and especially not to run out from between parked cars.

4. Adults, if you are going to be out partying take a cab. Walking while intoxicated on the second most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians is not a good idea.

5. Don’t Assume! Just because you are in a crosswalk with the light doesn’t mean an on coming car will stop. The City of Chicago’s recent analysis of vehicle-pedestrian crashes found that almost 80 percent of those accidents occurred in or near crosswalks, often involving people who were crossing with the “walk” signal.

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Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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