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Protecting your kids on Halloween — and beyond

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It is scary how deadly Halloween night has been for children — not so much from eating tainted candy, but from being hit by cars.

Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July.

State Farm and research expert Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces teamed up to study more than 4 million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990-2010 for children up to age 18. They found that Halloween was, by far, the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents. In the 21-year analysis, 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween, which averages out to 5.5 fatalities per year. That is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days of the year.

Some other statistics from the 2012 study:

  • The “deadliest hour” — Nearly one quarter (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. More than 60 percent of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Middle of the block = most hazardous — More than 70 percent of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Older kids more at risk — Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32 percent of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23 percent).
  • Watch out for younger drivers — Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
  • Fatalities declining — Each of the last six years of the study (2005 – 2010) has seen Halloween child fatalities below the 21-year average of 5.5.

Drivers this coming Thursday need to remember that costumed children often have limited vision, hearing and range of motion, and are sometimes more difficult to spot. They might also be paying less attention to crossing the street as they rush from house to house with their friends. This makes it particularly important for drivers on residential streets to be fully alert at all times and not distracted by their smartphones.

See also: Tips for keeping kids safe on Halloween

If you have young trick-or-treaters, make sure they can see and hear adequately in their costume. Also, be sure they are wearing something reflective and/or have flashlights or glow sticks. This is the perfect time to reiterate the importance of looking both ways before crossing streets.

The very subject of child fatalities reminds me of a new article on LifeHealthPro about the viability of whole life insurance for children. Author Chris Campbell, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Banker’s Life and Casualty Company, says that, despite its bad public reputation, juvenile life insurance can make perfect sense for some clients, and it has nothing to do with income replacement.

See: Life Insurance for children: It’s not a scam

Campbell talks about the advantages of such policies — beyond the obvious death benefit — including guaranteed future insurability, cash value accumulation with a guaranteed rate of return over the long term, the allowance of loans against the cash value at any time, low locked premium rates, and tax advantages for the parents or grandparents paying the premiums.

For more from Brian Anderson, see:

5 notorious, homicidal tales of life insurance fraud

Clients from Hell: Real bad stories about real bad clients