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CPSC Issues Halloween Safety Alert

Release Date: October 01, 1983

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today issued a safety alert to parents and guardians of children who go trick-or-treating on Halloween. The Commission particularly emphasized the importance of careful examination of all treats before children are allowed to eat them. Children should be warned not to eat any of their treats before they get home.

The Commission also recommended the following safety tips to parents and children for Halloween:

- Costumes, masks, beards, and wigs should be labeled "Flame Resistant." Although this does not mean they won't catch fire, such labeling indicates that they will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. Flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts should be avoided to minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition.

- Costumes should be light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility in dusk or darkness, costumes should be decorated or trimmed with reflective tape which will 'glow' in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored and decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores. Children should also carry flashlights to see--and be seen--more easily.

- Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling. Children should also wear safe, sturdy shoes. Mother's high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.

- Hats should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.

- apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose fitting mask which might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure eyeholes are large enough to allow full vision and make sure the mask fits securely.

- If swords, knives, or similar accessories are carried, they should be of soft or flexible material.

- Smaller children should always be accompanied by an older responsible child or an adult. All children should use the sidewalk rather than walk in the street and they should WALK not run from house to house. Children should be cautioned against running out between parked cars or across yards and lawns where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers.

- Children should only go to homes where residents have outside lights on as a sign of welcome. Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.

- Those receiving trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from steps, lawns, and porches. Candlelit jack-o-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame. Indoor jack-o-lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations, or other furnishings that could be ignited.

- Parents should encourage home parties and celebrations in place of trick-or-treating.

Consumers wishing further information may call the CPSC toll-free Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. The teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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