What is so dangerous about Halloween? Is it the possibility that you or your child will eat poisoned candy? Maybe you will be attacked by a zombie or demon lurking in the dark?
Strange as it may seem the threat of eating candy laced with poison or some narcotic is about as likely as being attacked by zombies from the televisions series “The Walking Dead.”
Despite all of the warnings received every Halloween about the threat of poisoned candy, there appears to be little evidence of such things actually happening. Snopes has a full page dedicated to debunking the subject.
That isn’t to say that Halloween candy is absolutely safe. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health has posted a list of candy from other countries that have been found to contain unhealthy levels of lead. So, while your neighbors down the street aren’t trying to poison you or your family, some of our neighboring countries appear to be doing just that.
If you are worried about your child being molested or the possibility of abduction, the following studies may give you some comfort.
Elizabeth Letourneau, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Family Services Research Center, shows that trick-or-treating was just as safe for children in 1997, before the sex offender laws, as it was in 2005.
Kristen Anderson, director of the case analysis division for sex offender tracking at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reported that, “only nine nonfamily child abductions were reported in the United States between 29 October and 1 November over a 5-year period, none of which appeared to have any connection to trick-or-treating.”
How dangerous is Halloween?
Halloween is a very dangerous night especially for child pedestrians. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, October 31 is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians. Statistics show the number of deaths among young pedestrians from 5 to 14 years of age is four times higher on Halloween, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Halloween is the second most dangerous night in the year to be crossing a street. Based on the total number of pedestrian deaths recorded from 1986 – 2002.
What can you do to prevent you or a loved one from being the cause or the victim of a traffic accident?
1) Don’t wear a mask that will limit your vision. Non-toxic face paint used properly can be scarier than any mask.
2) Make sure the costume you or your child wears is bright enough to be seen at night and does not impede mobility. If you are trying to get out of the way of a driver who isn’t paying attention it helps if you don’t trip over your costume.
3) Coach your kids not to cross in the middle of the street and especially not to run out from between parked cars.
4) Adults if you are going to be out partying take a cab. Walking while intoxicated on the second most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians is not a good idea.
5) Don’t Assume! Just because you are in a crosswalk with the light doesn’t mean an on coming car will stop. The City of Chicago’s recent analysis of vehicle-pedestrian crashes found that almost 80 percent of those accidents occurred in or near crosswalks, often involving people who were crossing with the “walk” signal.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!
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