The spookiest night of the year is around the corner. Kids everywhere are choosing their favorite costume and looking forward to their favorite treats. As parents and caregivers prepare for this celebration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds them to keep safety in mind, so that no child is haunted by Halloween-related injuries. Hidden dangers associated with costumes, treats, and decorations can be easily prevented.
CPSC reports that the most serious Halloween-related injuries involve burns from flammable costumes and decorations, including ignition from open flames, such as candles and Jack O’Lanterns. Other incidents have involved lacerations from carving pumpkins and trips/falls while walking, particularly after dark.
“Our major concern is still the use of home-made costumes that are not flame resistant,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Parents making their children’s costumes should use inherently flame-resistant fabrics, such as nylon and polyester. Costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground to guard against trips and falls.”
CPSC helps keep children safe by enforcing the Flammable Fabrics Act and by recalling products at Halloween and throughout the year that can cause injury.
Follow these safety tips to ensure this year’s holiday is a safe one:
- When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester, or look for the label "Flame Resistant." 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 or billowing skirts.
- Purchase or make costumes that are light, bright and clearly visible to motorists.
- 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. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.
- Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels are not a good idea.
- Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes and obstructing vision.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eye holes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible materials.
- Supervise pumpkin carvings to avoid lacerations.
- Warn children not to eat any treats until an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
- Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters under three years of age. Do not 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.
- Indoors, keep candles and Jack O' Lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
- Remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
- Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL. 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.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @OnSafety or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.