Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to safety. The occurrence of fire, and burns and falls among children increases around Halloween due to costumes and the placement of Halloween decorations. Halloween is fun and exciting, but it is also an essential time to be cautious to help reduce the risk of burn or injury.
When purchasing a Halloween costume, be certain it is flame resistant. Make sure costumes allow for clear sight and proper hearing. It is also important to make sure costumes fit properly, it is easy to trip on costumes that are too long or shoes that are too big. Wear light or brightly colored clothing. Put glow-in-the-dark or reflective patches or strips on costumes so trick-or-treaters can be seen better and have at least one flashlight per group. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision, be sure they are trick-or-treating in groups.
Decorations are often the first thing to ignite in reported home fires each year. Hay bales, corn stalks, and cotton can easily go up in flames. Keep all decorations away from open fires and heat sources such as lightbulbs and space heaters. Indoors or out, check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets, and don’t overload extension cords. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors, make sure your fire extinguishers are up to date and fully charged, and practice your escape drills with your family. If your children are going to a Halloween party at others’ homes, have them look for escape routes at the party, and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
Use a battery operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you do use candles, never leave them unattended, and outdoor jack-o-lanterns should be kept out of the path of anything that can burn and far enough away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, and walkways. Remember to keep exists clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
Halloween is one of the most thrilling nights of the year for children (and many adults), and also one of the most dangerous. Costumes and other components can create hazards if you are not careful. But by planning ahead, and taking simple safety precautions, you can help make this Halloween fun and safe!