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News Releases

For Immediate Release

At Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Busy Streets are the Scariest Aspect of Halloween

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh recommends parents and caregivers take steps to make sure their little goblins are safe walking the streets in search of tricks and treats this Halloween.

Trick-or-treating can pose several risks to young pedestrians. The number of deaths among pedestrians 5-14 years old is four times higher on Halloween evening compared with all other evenings of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children can be at risk because they may be wearing dark-colored costumes that make them hard for motorists to spot, walking onto streets from between parked cars or unable to see oncoming traffic because of masks that restrict their field of vision, said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Trauma Program at Children's.

"We always hear about candy tampering and dangerous costumes, but by far the greatest danger kids face on Halloween is from vehicles. Children are excited about getting candy and trick-or-treating with their friends, so they aren't thinking about traffic safety," Dr. Gaines. "It is up to adults to make sure children are safe pedestrians, which includes sticking to sidewalks and cross walks, wearing bright-colored costumes or a reflective strip of tape and carrying a flashlight."

In addition to street safety, there are other steps parents should take to make sure their children are safe this Halloween:

Safety Tips

  • Make sure that all children have adult supervision when trick-or-treating.
  • Avoid sharp objects as accessories.
  • Younger children are better off not wearing masks that could restrict vision or breathing.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Give children bright-colored trick-or-treat bags.
  • Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods.
  • Know in advance the route that children are taking.
  • Give children money or a phone to call home if necessary.
  • Preschool-age children and toddlers can be afraid of the scarier aspects of Halloween. Talk to them in advance about the difference between reality and make-believe.

For more information about Halloween safety, please visit Children's Injury Prevention Web site at

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 19, 2008
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Last Update
February 19, 2008