It is Halloween time again, and the spookiest night of the year is just a few days away. Like my children, kids everywhere are choosing their favorite costume and looking forward to their favorite treats. As parents, let is prepare for this celebration and keep safety in mind and recognize the possible dangers associated with costumes, treats and decorations and to know that accidents can be prevented easily.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the most serious Halloween-related injuries involves burns from flammable costumes and decorations, including ignition from open flames like candles and Jack O’ Lanterns. Lacerations from carving pumpkins and tripping and falling while walking particularly in the night are some of the most reported incidents.
Here are a couple of safety tips to ensure this year’s holiday is a safe one:
When buying or making costumes, here are some guidelines:
- When purchasing costumes, masks, bears 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 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 should also be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware shops (Ace Hardware, DIY Stores) and some sporting goods stores.
- Irregardless if you are accompanying your children, carry flashlights with you to see and be seen.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Over-sized high heels are not a good idea. We do not want your children falling into drainage holes and canals.
- Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over your children’s eyes and obstructing vision.
- Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft and flexible materials.
- If your children are going to the malls for the trick or treating events, please supervise your children closely to avoid losing your children among the crowds. Please be wary some kidnapping attempts happens in malls.
With regards to those delectable and mostly cheap treats:
- Warn your children not to eat any treats until an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering not to mention that there are a hoard of chocolate candies and other food found to be laced with melamine. Get the complete list here.
- Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters under three years old. Do not allow 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.
Lastly, with the decorations:
- Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from stairs and doorsteps where costumes could brush against flames.
- Indoors, keep candles and 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 and outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Check each set of lights, new and old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
- Lastly, avoid overload extension cords.