Tips for a Safe "Trick or Treat"

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 you prepare for the festivities, remember 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.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission 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.

Follow these safety tips to ensure this year’s holiday is a safe one:

Costumes

  • 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.
  • 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.

Treats

  • 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.

Decorations

  • Use flashlights or battery-operated candles when illuminating Jack-o-lanterns. Use extreme caution when decorating with candle lit Jack-O-Lanterns, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn including doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • 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.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
  • Don't overload extension cords.
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