Study: Halloween Deadliest Day Of The Year For Kids
Not just because of all the ghosts, ghouls, goblins and monsters stalking neighborhoods for free candy this time of year.
But according to a newly released, comprehensive study commissioned by State Farm Insurance, October 31st is far and away the most dangerous day of the year for children-no other day even came close.
There’s no other day of the year where children are more at risk for being struck and killed by a vehicle than Halloween according to researcher Bert Sperling of Sperling’s Best Places, who analyzed over four million records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) between 1990 – 2010, for children under 18 years old on October 31.
Sperling’s research found 115 juvenile pedestrians were killed on October 31 over the past 21 years. That’s an average of 5.5 children killed by a motor vehicle every Halloween, shockingly, more than double the 2.6 juvenile crash fatalities any other day of the year.
“I think it’s pretty thorough,” says State Farm’s Tom Laxton about the scope of this research. “There’s a lot of kids out there and we want all kids to be as safe as possible.”
The hour between 6-7 PM was the deadliest hour of the evening the research shows, accounting for 25% of all deaths, with the span of 5-9 PM accounting for over 60% of juvenile pedestrian deaths that day.
Children between 12-15 years old was the age group accounting for the highest percentage of fatalities with 32%, followed by 5-8 year old children accounting for 23%.
Where are costumed children most likely to be struck by a car? Far and away it’s the middle of the block–a jolting 70% of juvenile pedestrian fatalities occur mid-block on Halloween–when excited children bolt across the street often from between parked cars.
Previous studies centered around Halloween safety seem to corroborate State Farm’s study.
For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study between 1975 and 1996 which showed deaths for young (age 5-14) pedestrians is four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year.
While a 1999 study by the NHTSA claims most collisions between vehicles and young pedestrians occur between 4-8 PM–the heart of trick or treating, and 84% of young pedestrian deaths occur mid-block when kids try to dash across the street.
The good news is, this Trick or Treat trend seems to be on a downward trajectory. That’s because between 2005 and 2010 just an average of three children were killed by a vehicle on Halloween.
“At three, even though we’re doing better, it’s still higher than we’re doing the rest of the year,” says Laxton. “We think zero is the right number.”
The bottom line for parents, children and drivers is to me extra vigilant and safe during the annual Halloween quest for candy.