Enjoy Halloween safely.
Tomorrow night, October 31, we'll see a whole host of ghosts, goblins and witches strolling the streets of our towns and villages - all children out to enjoy the festivities of Halloween!
But for some, Halloween becomes a night to remember for all the wrong reasons. Every year children, in particular, suffer life altering injuries from illegal fireworks, flameable costumes and through other accidents. Here is some advice on the best way to stay safe this Halloween, but most importantly, the best way to keep your children safe as they enjoy a night of Trick or Treating.
- Young children should always have a responsible adult escorting them door-to-door on Halloween night.
- Talk to your child about the safety risks associated with Halloween and tell them how to lessen the risks.
- If your child has a mobile phone, make sure they have it in their possession when they go out, that it is charged and has credit so they can ring for help if needed.
- Remind children about "stranger danger" and the importance of not talking to people they do not know. This also means skipping houses that do not have lights on and never trick or treating at strangers' houses.
- Teach your child not to approach any animals at Halloween as even animals that are normally calm and friendly and known to the person can often attack when frightened by noises such as fireworks.
- Keep in contact with older friends, neighbours and relatives - remember Halloween can be a frightening time for some people.
- Teach your child to respect other people's well-being, safety and peace of mind.
Costumes, masks and wigs
- The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) advises:that children’s costumes are classified as toys so you should look for the CE mark when you are buying them. All masks, wigs and other similar Halloween costume accessories should also have a visible CE mark.
- Swords, devil forks and other costume accessories should be made of soft flexible material.
- If you are buying props for your child’s costume these may not be classified as toys and therefore may not be safe for your child.
- Make sure the props and toys your child is using this Halloween are suitable. Some children, particularly those under the age of three, may be more vulnerable, particularly to choking due to the presence of small detachable parts and some props may be unsuitable for them.
- To prevent falls, make sure your child’s costume fits well, isn’t too long and does not have too much loose fabric. If it is too long, stitch the hem to avoid a situation where they could trip and fall. If they are wearing hats or wigs, make sure it doesn't obscure their vision. A child may attempt to cross the road and may not see oncoming traffic as a result.
- Face painting is often a safer choice for trick-or-treaters than a mask which can block or obscure vision - make sure your child is not allergic to any of the face paint ingredients. The CCPC recommends that if you are buying face paints which are marketed at children (for example have a picture of the child on the packaging) then they should have a CE mark.
- Always check the packaging displays clear ingredients in English.
- Dress for the weather, so your child and you are comfortable and warm.
All costumes, masks and wigs should be flame resistant
- Make sure children are wearing "normal" clothes under the costume, so that some protection may be given if the costume catches fire.
- If somebody catches fire, they should do the 'stop, drop and roll' drill - stop what they're doing, get on the ground and roll. Allow the ground, and not a person's hands, to suffocate the fire.
- Remember - devastating injuries can be caused if costumes catch fire.
Fireworks, sparklers, candles and bonfires
- Every year children get firework and bonfire related injuries and some are scarred for life.
- Remember fireworks, even if legally purchased in the north, are illegal to use in the Republic of Ireland.
- To be safest, plan family fun and activities that don’t include fireworks and do not allow children attend unsupervised bonfires.
- Children should never hold lit sparklers as they can burn as hot as 700 degrees celcius and will not go out even when doused in water.
- Under 2006 legislation, if you ignite a firework or cause it to be ignited in any place, you are guilty of an offence (unless you are a licensed operator). The offence of igniting a firework can apply to any location, including the garden of a private house.
- 30% of injuries are caused by illegal or homemade fireworks.
Be a good role model for your children: act safely and responsibly this Halloween.