Since 1980, there have been 16 cases in which children under the age of 15 years have suffered burn injuries. One of those injuries resulted in death.1 However, many agree that the biggest risk to injury for children on Halloween is motor vehicle accidents. On Halloween children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car as on any other night of the year.2 It is for these reasons that children’s Halloween costumes need to be made safer to prevent fire injuries and vehicle accidents. Below, you will find tips on how to make your children’s Halloween costumes safer.
Avoid masks as they obscure vision
Masks will obscure a child’s vision, which makes them less than ideal for Halloween costume safety. Obscured vision means that children are not as good at spotting traffic and other safety risks such as curbs or stairs. Some masks also present a burn hazard. Masks that require batteries for special effects have the chance to malfunction or short circuit.
Avoid billowing or baggy costumes
A lot of children’s costumes can quickly catch on fire with certain fabrics. Billowing and baggy costumes have more of an opportunity to catch fire as there is less control with them around an open flame. It is recommended that you go for costumes that are flame resistant, nylon, or polyester. These fabrics are slow to catch fire and have more of a chance of putting themselves out. However, the synthetic fibers will melt under a flame and can cause skin damage. Try your best to avoid flames. Billowing and baggy costumes also raise the risk for tripping. Instead, opt for costumes that don’t restrict leg movement and allow for arms and hands to move freely.
Use reflective tape
Reflective tape is one of the best ways to help ensure that cars are able to see you in low-light. Tape can easy be added on to a costume so that it is discrete unless under a light and made to look stylish. As you can see on Amazon you can get reflective tape in different colours so that it doesn’t stand out as much but will still reflect light from a car’s headlights. Glow sticks are also a great way to increase visibility in the dark. However, glow sticks can also pose a risk. If a glow stick breaks open it can cause skin irritation, damage to the eye, and toxic if swallowed. If a child accidentally ingests the contents of a glow stick, poison control should be called before seeking assistance at the emergency room. If you don’t already have the number to Poison Control programmed in your phone, it might be a good idea to do it now. The number is 1-800-268-9017. If there is an emergency, you don’t want to be relying on searching for the number online to get help.
Keep jack-o-lanterns away from pathways
If you are expecting trick-or-treaters at your house, try to make sure that pathways are kept clear. You do not want children tripping on your property as much as you can help it. Also, if you use flame candles in your jack-o-lanterns instead of LED then having children stand too close to the pumpkins can result in them potentially catching fire if they have billowing or baggy costumes.
Avoid toxic chemicals
Some face paints and other Halloween make up may contain toxic chemicals or skin irritants. Check the ingredients before you purchase. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y has voiced his concern over make up and face paints that contain heavy metals. Some products may contain lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium. Check to make sure the products you are purchasing do not contain these toxic metals. Remember: these products expire so check the expiry date before using as expired products might not be safe.
By following these Halloween costume safety tips you should be able to guarantee a fun and safe Halloween.
1”Is Your Kid’s Halloween Costume Safe?” ABC News. Oct 21. Web.
2”Halloween Safety.” Safe Kids. 2016. Web.