(10/25/10) - Child pedestrian death rate is double the average:
FedEx and Safe Kids USA urges kids and drivers to be alert and cautious
On a potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids Florence, led by McLeod Health, urges parents to prepare children to act safely and drivers to take extra precautions. On average, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.
"Children need proper safety instruction before they go out trick-or-treating," says Erin Faile, Safe Kids Florence Coordinator. "Many children will be out trick-or-treating while it is dark, which makes it more difficult for drivers to see them. There are several simple and effective behaviors that parents can share with their children to help reduce their risk or injury. For example, children younger than age 12 should not be alone crossing streets without an adult. If older children are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure that they travel in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting."
In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids Florence, led by McLeod Health, will team up with Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with reflective materials to promote visibility, including trick-or-treat bags and zipper tags that can be attached to costumes, as well as important safety information to children, parents, and drivers.
Drivers need to be extra alert as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks who will be focused on gathering candy and the excitement of the holiday. "Safe Kids and FedEx urge drivers to slow down on neighborhood roads to make Halloween more enjoyable for everyone, but also to help save lives," added Faile.
Safe Kids USA's top Halloween safety tips:
- Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right, and left again when crossing the street, and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don't run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Slow down and stay alert - watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
- Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child's vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
Safe Kids USA and FedEx's top safety tips for drivers:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
- Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy. "While kids never want to wait to dive into their candy, it is best to check sweets for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them," says Lindsey Griffin, Injury Prevention Specialist for Safe Kids Florence, led by McLeod Health. "Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers."
In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities. Every day, more than 75,000 FedEx vehicles are on the road, sharing the streets with pedestrians, fueling the company's dedication to pedestrian safety and sharing the lessons of safe driving that FedEx has learned over the past 35 years. Over the past 11 years, the program has expanded to include Brazil, Canada, China, India, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines where it has educated more than 4 million children.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit www.safekids.org.
About Safe Kids Florence
Safe Kids Florence works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 0 to 14. Its members include Florence Country Sheriff's Department, the City of Florence Police Department, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the City of Florence Fire Department. Safe Kids Florence is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Founded in 1995, Safe Kids Florence is led by McLeod Health and is funded in part by the McLeod Foundation.
About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services.
With annual revenues of $36 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 280,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit www.news.fedex.com.