Kids in costumes with buckets of candy on Halloween

Forget Contaminated Candy—This Is the Real Threat to Kids on Halloween

One of the best parts of Halloween is the enormous amounts of candy you get. Like many people, I heard horror stories about Halloween candy when I was a kid. I learned to check the candy before I eat it for foreign objects or drugs.

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While razors in Snickers bars and tainted Tootsie Rolls turned out to be an urban legend, it appears that there is an actual threat to kids on Halloween: cars.

This is your friendly reminder that Halloween provides increased dangers for you and your little ones when it comes to cars. In 2019, JAMA Pediatrics published a major study on this very topic, but it seems many people weren’t aware of the findings. Those under 18 years old are three times more likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween compared to the other 364 days of the year. For children ages 4-8, the rate increases to 10 times more likely. So this makes Halloween the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians younger than 18. When you think about it, this makes sense.

We do not talk about this enough in my opinion. I haven’t discussed it with my nephews and I don’t think I know anyone in my circle who has. Sure, some parents and guardians may walk around with their kids, but not everyone does—or can. Parents and guardians also have different views on when children are old enough to go trick-or-treating without parental supervision. Between the adrenaline rush of the holiday and the yearning to grab as much candy as possible, it’s easy for kids to get distracted and neglect certain precautions. Vox spoke with Lois Lee, a professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard, who said that another thing that makes Halloween potentially dangerous is children wearing darker-colored costumes. Because of this, it can be harder for drivers to see them as the night goes on. 

Another factor is the increased number of people out on the street. When you add adults into the mix, some are coming home from work and may be going out to different parties and events. Furthermore, adults may be driving while intoxicated. We know this is not a smart decision, but it happens anyway. Lastly, those in costumes may be wearing masks that can limit their peripheral vision. These all make for a lethal combination.

So while we all get ready to enjoy this spooky holiday, make sure to take precautions, whether you’re out trick-or-treating or behind the wheel.

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