CPSC Warns: Don't Be Haunted
by Burn and
Laceration Hazards this Halloween
October 29, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Soon the ghouls and goblins of Halloween night
will prowl neighborhood streets in search of treats. The U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to ensure that
candle flames from jack-o-lanterns, decorative obstacles on the
porch or lawn, and sharp edges on costumes and accessories don't
keep kids from enjoying this annual tradition of trick-or-treating.
Incidents involving burns from
flammable costumes and lacerations related to pumpkin carving
lead the list of Halloween-related injuries.
"Using inherently flame-resistant
fabrics in home-made costumes and using battery-operated candles
when decorating the house for Halloween can help keep children
safe," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Make this year's holiday a
safe one by following a few simple safety tips:
- 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. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle
and sporting goods stores.
- Children should carry flashlights
to see and be seen.
- Costumes should fit well and
not drag on the ground to guard against trips and falls.
- 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
- 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 material.
- * Warn children not to eat
any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence
- 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
- Keep candles and jack-o'-lanterns
away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against
- Remove obstacles from lawns,
steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
- Indoors, keep candles and
jack-o'-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other items
that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
- Indoors or outside, use only
lights 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.
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