Most of the time, Halloween happens without any difficulties. However, it’s possible that costumes or decorations could cause burns, falls, or lacerations.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges parents and grandparents to take safety precautions when selecting costumes and Halloween decorations to prevent injuries.
Parents who make their kids' costumes should use flame-resistant fabrics, such as polyester and nylon. These materials will resist burning if exposed to an open flame.
When purchasing costumes, masks, beards, or wigs look for "Flame Resistant" on the product's tag or packaging. Flame-resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves, large capes, or billowing skirts. Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, bright, and clearly visible to motorists.
Lighting the night also is safer when children have no access to open flames. Flameless candles, light sticks, and flashlights provide a safe lighting alternative in jack-o'-lanterns and areas where children will have access.
Other safety tips from the commission include:
- For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape.
- Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
- To guard against trips and falls, costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels aren’t a good idea.
- Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes and obstructing their vision.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.
- Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
- Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters younger than three years of age. Don’t allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard or that have small parts or components that could separate during use and present a choking hazard.
- Keep candles and jack-o'-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
- Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
- Indoors, keep candles and jack-o'-lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other items that could ignite. Don’t leave burning candles unattended.
- Indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
- Don't overload extension cords.
I hope these tips help you have a safe Halloween.
Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist