(Good Things Utah) Halloween is a great time for kids and many adults, but can be a scary time for drivers. Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is urging motorists to “Spot the Tot” to prevent accidental injuries this Halloween night.

“Kids are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year,” said Karlee Kump, manager of community health at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “Driver safety habits including Spot the Tot techniques can help prevent tragedy during the holiday.” 

Spot the Tot is a Primary Children’s injury prevention program that has been adopted by child safety advocates around the world. It’s designed to prevent motorists from accidentally rolling over a child as they pull away from a curb or driveway because they simply cannot see them. 

While backovers and frontovers may seem rare, they happen regularly and can result in devastating injuries or death, Kump said. In the past decade, more than 60 Utah children have been killed and more than 500 have been injured by accidental backovers and frontovers. 

Nationwide, more than 580 children have died in such accidents in the past five years. More than 15,000 children are injured in backovers or frontovers every year. While many of these accidents take place in spring and summer, motorists should use extra care on Halloween night, when trick-or-treaters are out in force and can be hard to see, Kump said.

“These accidents can happen to anyone,” Kump said. “They’re also preventable by taking a few extra seconds to practice safety before getting into the car.” 

Kump offers these Halloween Spot the Tot tips

  • Walk all the way around the car before you get in to ensure children are not behind you. 
  • Turn off distractions, including your mobile phone and music. 
  • Roll down the windows and listen for children.
  • Ask an adult to stay with kids while you exit a driveway to improve safety. 
  • Consider backing into the driveway during daylight hours to eliminate the need for backing up. 

“Remember, the time right before sunset is particularly dangerous for drivers because of the sun’s glare, and it’s also the time younger children start trick-or-treating,” Kump said. “Everyone should use a little extra caution at this time. Drive slowly, eliminate extra window glare by cleaning windshields in advance, and keep an eye out for kids whose costumes blend in with the dark and who may run across the street with little warning.”

Here are some other safety tips parents can use to help keep trick-or-treaters safe:  

  • Have trick-or-treaters carry glow sticks or flashlights and wear reflective tape or stickers on costumes. 
  • Full face masks can limit a child’s vision; consider makeup or face paint instead.
  • Adults should accompany trick-or-treaters under age 12, and help children use crosswalks. 

More information is available at primarychildrens.org/safety

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