Countdown to Halloween: Keep Your Kids Safe

halloween ER

The key to staying safe during Halloween is to know where the danger lies. The number one Halloween hazard by far is kids being hit by cars.

In fact, children are twice as likely to be struck on Halloween as on any other night.

Melissa Robles and Hailey Vileta of Woodinville, Wash., prepared this year for Halloween with the typical teenage enthusiasm, but it was last year that the two were nearly killed.

"You just feel like I really am lucky," Melissa told "Good Morning America."

The girls, along with about a dozen other ninth graders, were walking along a road in their hometown after dark. Melissa was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. Ironically, Hailey was dressed as the sun. They don't remember what happened next, but friends who witnessed the incident told them.

"The car hit me dead on and then swerved around back to Melissa," Hailey said.

"I flew out of my shoes," Melissa said. "Like my shoes were planted right where I got hit."

CLICK HERE to see web extra tips for staying safe, whether you're driving or your kid is Trick-or-Treating.

Hailey said the next thing she knew, she woke up with her mother holding her hand and doctors swarming her.

For Halloween that year, instead of candy, the girls got head injuries, a lacerated liver, two crushed legs, multiple surgeries, titanium rods, wheelchairs, casts, days in the hospital and weeks away from school.

"I remember before the accident being able to run super fast, but now I can't," Melissa said.

Of all the crashes when kids are struck and killed, 42 percent occur between the narrow window of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. That's when cars are coming and the light is leaving.

"It turns into the perfect storm of things that contribute to crashes," said Moira Donahue of Safe Kids U.S.A., a non-profit organization that works to eliminate preventable childhood injuries.

Sometimes parents worry about exotic Halloween hazards, like tainted candy, and forget about car accidents, the most devastating danger of all.

"It's really important for parents to think about walking safety and visibility for their children on Halloween," Donahue said. "It really is the top concern."

Statistics to Keep Your Kids From Being One

Other statistics to know to help keep your kids from becoming one:

Pedestrian deaths among 4- to 7-year-olds are decreasing, but death of kids 8 to 14 years old are on the rise.

Nearly two-thirds of the victims are boys.

The biggest danger lies in the middle of the block, not at the intersection.

"Think about what you're doing and be safe out there because you never know what can happen," Melissa said.

"The slightest moment could kill somebody, could take their life," Hailey said.

A year after their accident, Hailey and Melissa are mostly recovered. Although the pins in their legs cause them a lot of pain, the girls have turned that pain into passion.

They speak to school groups and distribute glow-in-the-dark bracelets and neon road signs. Their message to kids and drivers? Stay alert and safe.

"I think what I am most proud of is just how they've turned a negative experience into an act of courage," Hailey's dad, Jeff Vileta, said.

CLICK HERE to find out more about Hailey Vileta and Melissa Robles' campaign for better pedestrian safety.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...