Parents' Page - Hallowe'en Safety
Hallowe’en can be an exciting time of year for children, dressing up and going out after dark. Sadly, this is a time where a lot of small children have accidents. As a parent, it is a time to be mindful of potential hazards can help prevent accidents and make Hallowe’en safer for everyone without dampening the fun.
Here are our top tips for a safe Hallowe’en:
Fire safety tips
You can’t stop your little witch from twirling her cape. But loose clothing can go up in flames if it catches on a burning candle. If you’re going out to scare, know what to wear.
Try to buy from a reputable store or website, it may mean spending a bit more but it will be safer. Cheap costumes may not meet UK safety standards and may carry fake safety labels.
Look for a costume with a CE mark. This doesn’t mean it won’t catch light. But it has been tested for fire safety so it should burn more slowly. [You may start to see a new symbol, the UKCA (UK conformity assessed mark) as part of planning for Britain leaving the European Union].
The British Retail Consortium has introduced stricter fire safety tests for children’s dressing-up costumes. Many reputable retailers and manufacturers in the UK have signed up to this voluntary code. Look for a label that says: “This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability”.
Encourage children to layer up. If children wear clothes under their dressing-up costumes, there is a layer of protection between the costume and their skin. This can help protect their skin if their costume catches fire.
Teach children to Stop, Drop and Roll. Ahead of Hallowe’en, make sure children know what to do if their clothes catch fire. The instinct is to run. So encourage them to practice stopping, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and rolling over a few times to put out the flames.
Candles and lit pumpkins create a fantastic spooky atmosphere but can be dangerous. Keep them well out of the path of trick or treaters and away from any Hallowe’en decorations that might catch light.
Remember not to put candles on a surface that may burn. And, in all the excitement, don’t forget to blow them out when you’re done.
You may want to switch to LED / flameless battery-powered candles for extra safety
Out and about
Visibility is important all year round. However, after the clocks go back, it gets dark much earlier. By Hallowe’en it will be dusk by 5 o’clock, just when children are out trick or treating.
Reflective tape can make a fun addition to Hallowe’en costumes and make children more visible to drivers at twilight, as it is picked up in car headlights. If you’re going out earlier with little ones, then bright or fluorescent clothing is better for daytime visibility.
Fluorescent glow sticks and glow jewellery can make great costume accessories and can also help make children more visible to drivers.
Masks can make it harder for children to see or hear traffic. So save the special masks for the Hallowe’en party and use face paint for trick or treating.
Encourage children to put mobile phones away when they are out trick or treating and crossing roads. Instead of using the phone as a light, carry a torch.
It goes without saying that children under 12 are best accompanied by an adult. Agreeing a pre-planned route for children over 12 and having a way of contacting a trusted adult if they need to offers freedom with less risk.
Other safety tips
Carving pumpkins has become a Hallowe’en tradition. If your child isn’t old enough to handle a sharp knife safely there are plenty of ‘no-carve pumpkin’ ideas all over the internet. Just do a quick search on Pinterest. You will be amazed at the creativity.
Watch out for treats that might be a choking hazard for young children, like hard sweets, marshmallows or mini-eggs. It’s best to avoid eating while walking or running, so you may want to save up all the treats to enjoy back at home.
Information from Child Accident Prevent Trust