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CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s recent seizure at a U.S. port of two shipments of children’s Halloween costumes with safety issues has resulted in many questions to us about what parents should look for when buying a Halloween costume.
Here are some things for you to consider:
Q: Are costumes required to be flame resistant?
A: Yes. Costumes can’t have fabrics that burn rapidly and intensely. This applies to all clothing, including costumes.
Q: Are accessories such as wigs, beards and wings also required to be flame resistant?
A: Yes. Both Halloween accessories and toys must meet flammability requirements.
Q: Different Halloween costumes have different warnings. Some say “flame resistant.” Some say “keep away from flames.” Some say nothing. Does this mean that some items are flame resistant and others are not?
A: No. All costumes must meet the flammability requirements. This doesn’t mean that textiles won’t burn. All textiles can burn and should be kept away from flames. Parents should look for costumes made from synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester because these materials are less likely to ignite, will resist burning and will extinguish more quickly if they do ignite. Manufacturers sometimes promote this by putting a “flame resistant” label on the package. The warning label to keep a costume away from flames is important advice that is provided by the manufacturer.
Q: How can a parent tell if a costume is safe?
A: You should have two concerns. First, check for any labels on the costume about its flammability and the materials that the costume is made from. Second, choose well-fitting costumes that are not too big and billowy.
Q: The costumes mentioned above contained lead. How can parents know whether a product meets the lead requirement?
A: All children’s costumes sold in the U.S. must meet federal lead safety standards. Manufacturers must test costumes if they contain certain items that could have lead, like buttons, snaps and appliques, as well as other Halloween-themed accessories.
Q: How else can parents keep their children safe on Halloween?
- Carve pumpkins safely. Sixty-four percent of Halloween-related injuries between October and November last year were related to pumpkin carving.
- Use battery operated candles and lights instead of candles.
- If you are making your child’s costume, trim the costume or outerwear with reflective tape to make it easier for your child to be seen.
- Carry flashlights or glow sticks when trick-or-treating after dusk.
You can find more Halloween safety tips in our Halloween Safety Alert.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/10/halloween-costumes-what-to-look-for/
In recalls of children’s sleepwear, including recent recalls, you’ll see the following line:
“The pajamas fail to meet the federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear posing a risk of burn injury to children.”
What does that line mean for a parent or grandparent buying pajamas for a child?
CPSC enforces a regulation that requires that children’s sleepwear to protect children from burn injuries if they come in contact with a small open flame, such as from matches, lighters, candles, stoves, ranges, space heaters and fireplaces.
The regulation was enacted in the early 1970s in response to children suffering burn injuries, which typically happened before bedtime and around breakfast. Today, CPSC rarely receives reports of sleepwear-related fires.
When you buy pajamas, you’ll see two types: loose-fitting and tight-fitting. Loose fitting pajamas must be flame resistant. That means that the fabric shouldn’t ignite near a small, open flame. And if it does ignite, it should stop burning. Some loose-fitting items are nightgowns, loungewear, robes or any loose clothing intended to be worn mainly for sleeping.
Tight-fitting pajamas fit close to a child’s body. The fabric does not need to be flame resistant because of how it fits. Tight-fitting pajamas do not ignite easily, and if the pajamas ignite, they do not readily burn. You should always see a label on these pajamas telling you to wear them snugly.
CPSC tests children’s sleepwear in our product testing lab. Here’s what happens with sleepwear that meets the standard versus sleepwear that doesn’t:
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If you own any of the pajamas recalled, take the pajamas away from your children. Contact the recalling company for a refund, exchange or store credit as described in the recalls.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/07/sleepwear-safety-a-success-story/
Look at your child’s jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters. See nothing unusual? Now, look again. Do they have drawstrings?
For reasons we show below, CPSC passed a rule in July 2011, designating most drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear as hazardous. This essentially means that you shouldn’t see for sale, and your child shouldn’t wear, jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters with dangerous drawstrings. That means no neck or hood drawstrings for upper outerwear in sizes 2T through 12 or S through L. In addition, certain waist or bottom drawstrings are considered dangerous.
These waist drawstrings and the hood drawstrings above are what you should not see on your child’s clothes.
With waist drawstrings, there are three things to look for:
- When the clothing is at its fullest width, the drawstring should not hang out more than 3 inches.
- There shouldn’t be any toggles or other attachments on the drawstring.
- The drawstring must be stitched into the back so that it cannot be pulled to one side.
Drawstrings can catch on items such as playground equipment or vehicle doors. CPSC has received 26 reports of children who have died when drawstrings in their clothes got tangled on playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom drawstrings that were caught in cars and buses resulted in dragging incidents.
CPSC first issued guidelines on drawstrings in February 1996. These were then incorporated into a voluntary standard in 1997. Since the clothing industry started following the voluntary standard, deaths involving neck or hood drawstrings decreased by 75 percent and there have been no deaths associated with waist or bottom drawstrings.
Still, we continue to see jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters made with drawstrings that are dangerous. CPSC has issued more than 130 recalls involving clothes with drawstrings including 8 recalls between November 2011 and May 8, 2012. Here are some recalls from just the past month (as of publication of this blog). So, check your child’s upper outerwear and make sure to follow the instructions on these recalls.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/05/drawstrings-not-allowed/
It’s August! Do you know what that means? BACK-TO-SCHOOL!
While you’re scrambling to pull together fall clothes and school supplies, and sort through your transportation options, be sure to keep a few safety tips in mind:
1. Many schools are now joining the First Lady’s
Let’s Move Initiative
Safe Routes program
to encourage walking or biking to school. Whether you’re part of one of these movements or your child already rides a bike or scooter to school, be sure that he/she wears a properly fitted helmet. The helmet should fit snuggly, be flat on top of the head and have a buckled chin strap. It should not move up and down or from side to side. Make sure to replace any helmets that have been in an accident. Helmets only do their job once!
2. Helmets belong on the head when riding a bicycle, but not when playing on a playground. Teach your child to take the helmet off before he or she plays on a playground. Bike helmets can get stuck in openings on playground equipment, causing a child to strangle.
3. One item that doesn’t belong near a child’s neck is a drawstring. So, look closely at your child’s jackets, “hoodies,” or sweatshirts to ensure there are no drawstrings in the upper portion of the garment. You also should take a look at waist or bottom drawstrings on your child’s jackets and other upper clothing. New regulations specify that you shouldn’t be able to see more than 3 inches of the string when the clothes are stretched wide.
CPSC has received 26 reports of children who died when the drawstring on their clothing became tangled on playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom drawstrings have been caught in doors or other car parts resulting in dragging incidents.
4. Is soccer your child’s sport? If so, CPSC recommends that soccer coaches, school officials and soccer field maintenance personnel anchor goals to the ground so they do not fall over and cause a serious injury or death.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/08/back-to-school-safety/