My son loves Halloween!! It’s all about the candy. He loves getting the candy. He loves sorting the candy. He loves going back out and getting more candy. He will then re-sort the newly acquired candy. And, of course, he likes eating the candy! Fortunately, his eyes are truly bigger than his stomach because he cannot eat all that much candy without feeling sick.
My daughter also loves Halloween – not for the candy though. In fact, she doesn’t even like candy at all. She loves Halloween for the costumes! She plans her costume months in advance. She comes up with a creative costume idea, and my wife makes it happen. One year, my wife spent about 40 hours making a candy claw machine out of a cardboard box.
Halloween is also my birthday. And Halloween typically falls around the weekend when Georgia plays Florida in college football (I’m a huge Georgia fan by the way). Suffice to say, Halloween is a big deal at the Baer household!!
While Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for most of us, Halloween also presents a heightened risk of injuries to children. Most injuries result from being struck by automobiles while out trick or treating. Most neighborhood streets where children trick-or-treat do not have much lighting. (This makes sense otherwise lights would interrupt our sleep.) And you certainly don’t want your kids trick or treating up and down busy highways where lighting is brighter.
Although the likelihood of a child being struck and killed on Halloween is extremely low, children are three times more likely to be struck and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to the latest federal highway safety data and a recent Washington Post article https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/28/heres-why-halloween-is-deadliest-day-year-child-pedestrians/.
Furthermore, pedestrian fatalities have been creeping back up since 2008 after two decades of decline. This is likely due to increased numbers of people biking and walking to work. Our addiction to our handheld devices leading to ever increasing distracted driving has likely played a role as well. https://content.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_distracted_driving.htm#:~:text=The%20National%20Highway%20Traffic%20Safety,to%20distracted%20driving%20in%202019.&text=Nationally%2C%20auto%20insurance%20premiums%20have,increase%20in%20distracted%20driving%20accidents
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states several factors contribute to the risk. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2711459. Those factors include lack of sidewalks, street crossings that are unsafe, and failure to control speed.
Sidewalks, speedhumps, and crosswalks with flashing lights that are not already in place are not going to be implemented overnight. But below are five (5) simple common-sense measures that you and your children can do to keep safe from a pedestrian accident or fatality this Halloween.
And one final important point: If you absolutely must drive after 5PM, drive SLOWLY.
I share this so that we can all have a safe and fun Halloween. Please talk with your kids about pedestrian safety before they bolt out the door to fill their bags with candy.
Bryan Baer, principal and founding partner of The Baer Law Firm, has over 20 years of experience litigating catastrophic injury and medical malpractice cases. He has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients, earning his membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Bryan has earned a Super Lawyer designation since 2016 as well as Georgia Trends Legal Elite. He has also received a Top 40 Under 40 designation from The National Trial Lawyers in 2014 and is one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.