LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2011) — Safe Kids Fayette County, led by Kentucky Children's Hospital, shares the newest research report on Halloween safety to Lexington, Ky.; a key finding showing that only one-third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety. The first-of-its kind study on Halloween-safety, included a poll of 935 parents with children ages 12 and younger to assess their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to Halloween safety.
“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries,” said Sherri Hannan, a nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”
On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. While most of the parent participants in the study have talked to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation. Safe Kids Fayette County and Kentucky Children's Hospital urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child, every year to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.
According to the study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosing fitting clothing, and / or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries.
Another key finding of this report shows 12 percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone. Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised. This recommendation was made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.
“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Hannan. “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids Fayette County and FedEx recommend the following tips to parents and caregivers:
· Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
· Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
· Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
· Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
· Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.
What Drivers Need to Know:
· Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
· Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
· Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
· Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Meador (859) 323-2395 or Julie.Meador@uky.edu