CPSC Provides Three Steps to a Safe Halloween Celebration
I don’t normally post full press releases, but I found this one to be very informative and appropriate for this time of year. As a mom of four, I try my best to ensure my kids are as safe as possible… but when they trick or treat you have to rely on other people to think of your children’s safety as well.
From a fall resulting in a dislocated shoulder, to an open flame resulting in second degree burns, each year CPSC receives reports of injuries involving Halloween-related costumes, decor, and lighting. These incidents are preventable. Using CPSC’s three-step safety check, consumers can ensure that their fright night fun is not haunted by Halloween injuries.
With CPSC’s quick and easy Halloween safety check and just five minutes of inspection, consumers can avoid problems that previously have plagued the trick-or-treat trail. This safety check will help consumers to: (1) prevent fires and burns, (2) ensure that kids can see and be seen, and (3) outfit kids for safety.
Halloween-related incidents can involve a number of hazards, including burns from flammable costumes that come into contact with open flames—particularly candles used to illuminate jack-o-lanterns; falls and abrasions from ill-fitting costumes, shoes, and accessories; and fires caused by burning candles left unattended, near combustible decorations or knocked over by kids and pets.
The federal Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) requires costumes sold at retail to be flame-resistant. To prevent costume-related burns, CPSC enforces this requirement and recalls costumes and other products that violate the FFA. When making a costume at home, CPSC encourages consumers to use fabrics that inherently are flame resistant, such as nylon and polyester.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Halloween ranks among the top 5 days of the year for candle-related fires. To prevent candle fires, CPSC encourages consumers never to leave a burning candle unattended. Battery-operated flameless candles and other flameless lighting are safe alternatives to traditional candles.
Unique jack o’ lanterns and creatively-carved pumpkins are a new popular trend. Read CPSC’s OnSafety blog on pumpkin-carving injuries and how to prevent them.
Additional safety tips to help make this year’s holiday safe:
- Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps, where costumes could brush against the flame.
- Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
- When indoors, keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
- Whether indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. 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.
- 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 reduce the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves, large capes, or billowing skirts.
- Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, 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 be able to see and to be seen.
- To guard against trips and falls, costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. High heels are not a good idea.
- Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes and obstructing their vision.
- If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has holes for eyes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.
- Children should not eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
- Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters who are younger than 3 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.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are directly related to these hazards. Please tell us about your experience with the product on SaferProducts.gov.
CPSC 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.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: SaferProducts.gov, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission