Halloween in NJ: Deadliest Day For Children Who Walk Out of the House
This Halloween, neighborhood streets in New Jersey will be filled with witches, goblins, zombies, and other frightful creatures.
As trick-or-treaters wander the streets in search of candy, AAA is reminding drivers that Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrians.
What did the study show?
AAA Northeast’s analysis of federal crash data showed that between 2007 and 2021, the deadliest day for child pedestrians, aged 17 and under is Oct. 31. A total of 49 children across the U.S. were killed on Halloween during that period, nearly double the next deadliest day.
Oct. 31 is the second deadliest day for pedestrians of all ages, with Nov. 1 as the deadliest, said Shani Jarvis, outreach manager at AAA Northeast.
What are some tips for motorists?
- Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. Jarvis said motorists should avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
- Watch for kids in the street. Excited young trick-or-treaters may not pay attention to traffic. They don’t think about traffic safety the way adults do, so they will just cross the street without thinking, in search of the next house for candy. Drivers need to be prepared for this, Jarvis said.
- Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if hit by a car traveling 35 mph compared to 25 mph. “It’s literally a small difference. It’s only 10 mph but it is between life and death,” Jarvis said.
- Drive sober. Adult revelers go out to Halloween parties so it’s important to have a designated driver or call an Uber. Impaired drivers mixed with kids on the street going trick-or-treating is not a good combination. In 2021, across the country, 38 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night.
What are some tips for parents and trick-or-treaters?
- Check costumes. Trick-or-treaters are often in dark-colored costumes and may be hard for drivers to see, especially at night. Jarvis said parents should help their kids choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision. Where possible, choose face paint over a mask. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping. Add reflective materials to a costume so kids are visible. Carry a flashlight.
- Trick-or-treat together. “I know this doesn’t sound cool but parents should accompany their youngsters until at least the age of 12,” Jarvis said. If the kids are older and going trick-or-treating on their own, parents should remind them of safety procedures. Plan the route ahead of time. Know where to cross the street. Never cross the street mid-block or from between parked cars because drivers can’t see them.
- Buckle up. If parents are driving their kids between neighborhoods, it can be tempting to just hop in the car and drive over to the next street. But Jarvis said it’s very important to always use seat belts, or appropriate car seats, no matter how short the trip. Make sure kids exit and enter from the sidewalk rather than from the road.
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