Thousands of costume-clad children will embark on treat-finding missions in neighborhoods all across the country this Halloween. Everyone wants their Halloween festivities to be fun, but it is important that trick-or-treaters and their chaperones prioritize safety as well.
The child welfare organization Safe Kids says that twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. In addition, the National Safety Council states that darting out or running into the road accounts for about 70 percent of pedestrian deaths or injuries among children between the ages of five and nine and about 47 percent of incidents for kids between the ages of 10 and 14.
Ensuring trick-or-treating youngsters are visible to motorists can make Halloween safer for everyone involved. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other safety groups suggest the following strategies for safe trick-or-treating.
· Supervise the festivities. Adults should chaperone young trick-or-treaters who are unlikely to be focused on safety in the midst of Halloween excitement.
· Use reflective tape or LED lights. Dark costumes coupled with twilight can make it difficult for motorists to see trick-or-treating youngsters. Parents can improve the chances of their kids being seen by motorists by adhering reflective tape onto kids’ costumes. Glow sticks and wearable LED lights also can illuminate trick-or-treaters.
· Carry lanterns or flashlights. Children and/or chaperones who carry flashlights and lanterns can improve their own visibility while also making themselves more visible to motorists. Lanterns and flashlights help trick-or-treaters avoid holes, cracked pavement and other obstacles. For those children who want to free up their hands for better treat gathering, lights that strap to the head are an option.
· Keep the lights on. Homeowners can do their part by keeping outdoor flood lights and accent lighting on to make paths safer for youngsters on the prowl for Halloween candy.
· Choose face makeup over masks. Children wearing masks may not spot oncoming cars or other hazards. Face makeup won’t affect kids’ visibility but will still help them look scary.
With the right combination of caution and fun, Halloween can be an enjoyable time for youngsters and adults.
As men and women age, various factors may affect their ability to drive. In addition to issues with memory, seniors may have failing eyesight and physical limitations, and their reaction time may slow down. In such instances, seniors’ ability to safely operate a motor vehicle may be questioned.
Age alone is not a reliable measure of driving ability, but many ofthe issues that affect one’s ability to safely drive a vehicle tend to appear as men and women near their golden years.
Losing the ability to safely operate an automobile can greatly reduce a person’s independence. That is why periodic driver evaluations may be met with some reluctance. Aging men and women who don’t want to avoid potential conflicts with concerned family members can take their own steps to ensure they maintain their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Schedule a driving safety evaluation
When drivers’ abilities to operate a motor vehicle become suspect,
a thorough evaluation should be scheduled. The evaluation should not be handled by a family physician or family member, but by an unbiased third party like a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist. This is a therapist who has special certification to assist people with disabilities, including older adults, with driving. They can help individuals with adaptive equipment or techniques if driving issues stem from something that can be addressed.
Figure out if the car “fits” the individual
A program called CarFit can help drivers assess if their car is suited to their abilities. A team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with participants to ensure their vehicles are equipped for maximum safety and comfort. A properly adjusted vehicle is as important as one’s cognitive and physical abilities. Adjustments can include mirror placement, good foot positioning and sitting at the proper distance from the steering wheel. People can learn about an upcoming event at www.car-fit.org.
Take a senior driver safety course
Driver improvement courses are provided by various organizations, including some insurance companies. AARP also has a Driver Safety Course to lower the risk of traffic violations, collisions and injuries. Completion of these courses can help drivers enhance their abilities behind the wheel and may result in lower premiums for mature drivers. Keep the mind and body fit Regular exercise and a healthy diet can be assets for mature drivers. Mental fitness techniques and brain exercises can improve reaction time, while aerobic and strength-training workouts can keep the body in shape.
Driving is one of the key avenues to personal independence. Strengthening seniors’ driving abilities is a goal of many organizations.