For many kids, Halloween – and of course, trick-or-treat – is highly anticipated and the source of many magical childhood memories. However, there are also a host of frightening dangers lurking on Halloween that have nothing to do with ghosts or goblins.
Attorneys for child injury victims in Orlando are committed to helping raise awareness of some of the most common child Halloween injuries, in the hopes families will face fewer emergency room trips this year.
From traffic safety to pumpkin carving to candle hazards, the hazards are seemingly endless.
Halloween Traffic Safety Concerns
Perhaps the biggest concern stems from the fact that many children will be flooding the sidewalks and streets during trick-or-treat. SafeKids.org reports that on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween, compared to other days of the year. Despite this, less than 1 in 5 kids will don reflective tape on their Halloween costumes. What’s more, 12 percent of children under 5 are allowed to trick-or-treat on their own.
In total, roughly 6,700 pedestrians die every year and another 160,000 require emergency room treatment after pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles. That’s according to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2017. That research ascertained that roughly 17 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred when pedestrians were improperly crossing roads or intersections, and lack of visibility or dark clothing is a contributory factor in about 15 percent of all deaths. For children under 10, darting out into the road was also a significant contributing factor.
That said, motorists owe a duty of care to pedestrians, and it is well-known on Halloween that children will be out at dusk and perhaps even after dark. Children can be unpredictable, and motorists must tailor their driving accordingly – most notably by slowing down and paying careful attention, particularly in residential neighborhoods during trick-or-treat. Florida’s comparative fault law, F.S. 768.81, states plaintiffs will not be barred from collecting compensation for injuries, even if they shared some part of the blame. Pedestrians do have a responsibility to abide traffic laws and use reasonable care in avoiding injury. However, what is “reasonable” for a child may differ than what is reasonable for an adult.
Parents can help reduce the risk by making sure that:
- Costumes are bright colors/ reflective;
- Masks are properly fitted, so children can see/ hear/ breathe well;
- Costumes properly fit, to help ward off trips and falls.
Trick-or-treating with adult supervision is often best, particularly for children under 15.
Other Halloween Safety Concerns
Other potential hazards may stem from close proximity to candles. Many people enjoy carving pumpkins – even in Florida where they rot quickly. Jack-o-Lanterns may pose special risk to small children or those with bulky or flammable costumes. Property owners should make sure lit candles are not placed in such a manner that children could accidentally brush up against the flame while trick-or-treating.
Beyond that, there may be concern for certain toys or candies with small parts that could be choking hazards. Those doling out treats and parents should make certain such items don’t make it into small hands – and mouths.
If older children are planning to go alone, parents are encouraged to plan and review an acceptable route and agree on a time they will return.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Spooky Truths Regarding Halloween Safety On and Off the Road, National Safety Council
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South Florida City Pays $40K After Fatal Shooting at City-Sponsored Event, Sept. 24, 2017, Orlando Injury Lawyer Blog