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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital Cautions Drivers To Beware the Princes and Princesses, Ghosts and Goblins Roaming the Region This Halloween

Halloween has been shown to be the most dangerous night of the year for young pedestrians, so Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC trauma experts are offering tips to help avert a tragedy.

The number of deaths among pedestrians ages 5 – 14 is four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adding to the potential for accidents this year is the fact that Halloween falls on a Friday, which could mean even more trick-or-treaters and even more traffic on the roads, said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital.

“Halloween is a great time for kids, and it can be enjoyed safely with common sense and good parental supervision.  But it’s also a recipe for tragedy if safety tips aren’t followed,” she said. “Kids are wearing costumes that may limit their field of vision. They’re racing from house to house, so there is the possibility they’ll dart onto the street from in between parked cars into the path of an oncoming car. And it’s dark, so drivers may have a difficult time seeing these trick-or-treaters in dark costumes coming onto the roadways.”

Trick-or-treaters should always stick to sidewalks and cross streets at crosswalks; they should carry flashlights and have brightly colored costumes or bags; and parents should accompany younger children, according to Dr. Gaines.

Children’s Hospital offers these additional safety tips:

•    Preschool-age children and toddlers can be afraid of the scarier aspects of Halloween. Talk to younger children in advance about the difference between reality and make-believe.
•    When choosing or making a costume, make sure that it is made of fire-resistant material and bright colors. If you choose a dark color, add reflective tape so the trick-or-treater can be seen by drivers of oncoming cars. Make sure that the costume is not a tripping hazard.
•    Avoid sharp objects as accessories.
•    If using face paint, make sure that the labels say “made with U.S.-approved colored additives,” “laboratory tested,” “non-toxic,” or “meets federal standards for cosmetics.”
•    Younger children are better off not wearing masks. But if you choose to use one, make sure that it doesn’t obstruct vision or breathing. An elastic band can be used to secure a proper fit and prevent it from slipping.
•    Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods and at the homes of people you know.
•    Know in advance the route that older children are taking.
•    Set a curfew and make sure your child has a watch.
•    Instruct children not to eat any treats until they get home and have them checked by an adult.

Contacts:

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016, marc.lukasiak@chp.edu
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016, melanie.finnigan@chp.edu

Last Update
October 28, 2008
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Last Update
October 28, 2008
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