Halloween is on the horizon and soon children will set off on their quest for tasty treats. It’s a time of great anticipation and cheer, but it can also present some risks. 

With all the build-up to Halloween, children — surrounded by friends, costumes, the darkness, and smartphones — can become distracted and may overlook basic safety precautions in their earnest quest to acquire as much candy as possible. That’s where parents and guardians can step in to provide support — to be aware of those distractions and be an extra pair of eyes and ears.

Dr. Michael Mitchell is the medical director of the pediatric emergency department at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Brenner Children’s Hospital. He says maintaining focus is crucial when crossing the street — what he calls the most dangerous aspect of trick-or-treating.

"That’s a very critical time to have everybody wait, and we collect as a group and we cross together," says Mitchell. "That’s a great strategy and it keeps kids sort of in check that we have to wait because unfortunately drivers can be distracted too. And many costumes around Halloween are dark. It’s hard for drivers to see some of these kids sometimes."

According to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely on Halloween to be hit and killed by a moving vehicle than on any other day of the year. To help minimize the risk of accidents, Mitchell recommends bright and reflective costumes, glow sticks and reflective tape to increase visibility. 

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