Halloween 2017 is here, with weekend celebrations beginning tomorrow and festivities extending through the weekend to the official night of Trick or Treating next Tuesday, October 31st. Many of us will be enjoying Halloween festivities over several days, both at home and in community programs.
Halloween Fun in Indiana and Illinois
For instance, ZooBoo starts at the Indianapolis Zoo tonight (Thursday, October 26, 2017) and continues through the weekend. The “number one haunted house in America” opened this past Sunday at the Indy Scream Park in Anderson.
Over in Illinois, it’s not just this weekend. All sorts of festivities have been scheduled to celebrate Halloween throughout the month. Places like The Haunted Infirmary over in Bartonville, where children 14 years and older have been visiting the spooky abandoned asylum overlooking the Illinois River Valley since the first Friday in October.
Of course, the kids are excited. From preschoolers to teens, children love all the fun of Halloween from the costumes to the parties to the gathering of candy through the neighborhoods. This is a children’s holiday.
It’s also a very dangerous time of year for youngsters. Research warns us that many kids and teenagers are going to be hurt or even killed over the Halloween holiday.
Halloween Dangers to Children: Fire, Burns, Poisoning
In past years, we’ve warned about things like the risk of costumes catching fire and kids getting sick from wearing make-up that injures or burns their skin.
Costumes need to be made of fire-retardant materials. Make-up should be FDA-approved.
We’ve also warned about candy that has been tainted or poisoned. It’s a sad reality that some people out there take pleasure in distributing treats that will harm children – sometimes seriously.
Kids shouldn’t eat anything that isn’t commercially wrapped and sealed. Parents should inspect all the goodies before the children are allowed to enjoy any of their treats.
See, e.g.: Happy Halloween 2013: Be Safe on Halloween!
Most Fatal Child Pedestrian Accidents Happen on Halloween Night
However, the most disturbing and serious warning that we get from research studies involves the danger of children being hit by vehicles on Halloween and seriously injured or killed in a child pedestrian accident.
Studies show that Halloween is the “deadliest day of the year” for child pedestrian fatalities.
In fact, the non-profit SafeKids.Org warns that the risk is twice as high on this one day than any other day of the year.
Highest Risk Is Between 5PM and 9PM
One such research study has been published covering 20 years of pedestrian accident data involving minor victims. Undertaken by State Farm and Sperling’s Best Places, using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they found more than double the average number of child pedestrian accidents happens on this single day, October 31st.
From this study we know:
- The highest risk of a fatal child pedestrian accident is between the hours of five o’clock and nine o’clock on Halloween.
- Most of these fatalities (70%+) will occur with a vehicle hitting a child in the middle of the block, where kids are not crossing at the usual intersection or street corner.
- Children between the ages of 12-15 are at the highest risk of being killed in a pedestrian accident on Halloween. Of all child fatalities, 32% were tweens.
- Children between the ages of 5 and 8 are also at great danger of being hit by a car on Halloween. Almost a a quarter of child fatalities, 23%, were these elementary-school age Trick or Treaters.
Drivers Need to Be Vigilant and Alert on Halloween
Everyone needs to understand the risk and danger that our children face as they celebrate Halloween, especially next Tuesday.
- We all need to take extra precautions if we are operating a motor vehicle on Halloween, especially any time after five o’clock.
- We can drive slower.
- We can be on the lookout for kids who are jaywalking and jumping from house to house, blissfully disregarding the risk of street traffic.
- We can put on our headlights even if it isn’t dark yet.
- We can drive expecting kids to appear in our traffic path or roadway.
- More than any other time of year, no one needs to be on their phones or checking their GPS on this dangerous and deadly day.
For more, see our earlier discussion “Keeping Kids Safe from Car Accidents on Halloween.”
Accident Claims for Child Pedestrian Accidents
Everyone here at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year, of course. However, if your child is seriously injured or hurt on Halloween, then please protect them medically not only by getting prompt care and attention but also legally, by doing things like recording what has happened (photos, video) including identifying potential witnesses and getting a police report. Why?
Children have legal remedies available to them under Indiana and Illinois personal injury laws that can be asserted on their behalf.
Do not assume that because the child allegedly darted into the street or the driver claims not to have seen the victim before impact that there is not a legal claim for justice to be asserted.
Fatal pedestrian accidents are tragedies where the accident victim has lost their life at a very young age. These claims can entail complex analysis including lost expectations, etc., and the loss experienced by grieving family members as well as the victim himself.
Ideally, no one will be injured or killed in our part of the country over this holiday weekend. But for those that are victims of a fatal Halloween pedestrian accident, the law offers justice and relief.
Let’s be careful out there!