Risk of fatal accidents for children skyrockets on Halloween

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on October 28, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 29 at 3:50 PM

FORT WORTH - A 10-year-old little boy is the reason paramedic Kathy Summers doesn't celebrate Halloween.

"I just don't want to carry that thought that they're out there because of me," Summers said.

The child was out trick-or-treating when a passing truck swerved.

"[There was] a tremendous amount of blood," Summers said. "He broke his jaw, broke his cheek, his eye orbit."

Fort Worth-based Medstar EMS set up a demonstration to show drivers how difficult it can be for even a slow-moving car to stop.

The scenario: You're driving just 30 miles-per-hour. Suddenly you see a child in the road.

"It takes you one-and-a-half seconds to process the information of someone stepping in front of you, then moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake," said a Medstar spokesman.

In that time, your car travels another 66 feet, hitting the child before braking has even begun.

"[Kids] will panic, they may run more into the car," said Sharon Evans, a nurse at Cook Children's Medical Center.

Go 40 miles per hour, and the car travels nearly 90 feet before braking starts.

Evans cites a study saying children are twice as likely to be hit and killed on Halloween.

"They honestly think that if they see the car, the car is going to see them, and can stop," Evans said.

Of course, those examples are assuming the driver can see the child. That's why costumes with dark colors can be dangerous and reflective and flashing accessories are recommended.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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