The NSAI is advising parents to keep their children safe this Halloween by checking safety labels and markings when buying costumes and accessories.
“Halloween is a special time of the year for children, but it can also pose dangers when it comes to health and safety,” Head of Corporate Services with the National Standards Authority of Ireland, Pat Bracken, says.
“Consumers should look out for safety standard labels on their Halloween costumes, props and toys, such as “flame resistant” and the CE mark. Both labels show that the manufacturer has complied with national and international standards. The label doesn’t mean that these items won't catch fire, but it does indicate that they will resist burning and they should extinguish quickly once you get them away from the fire source,” Mr Bracken added.
Check the labels on all costumes and accessories to ensure they are flame-resistant
When purchasing a costume or accessories like masks, beards or wigs, look for the CE mark and the Flame-Resistant label, which shows that the manufacturer has complied with national and international standards. Although this label does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source.
Look for the CE Mark on Halloween Toys
If your child has a plastic costume prop or toy such as a mask or a pitchfork, look for the CE Mark. The CE Mark demonstrates that the manufacturer has complied with the Irish and European standard, I.S. EN 71 "Safety of Toys".
Halloween novelty lights
A number of shops are now selling Halloween novelty lights similar in style to Christmas lights. All electrical products sold in the EU, must also comply with safety standards, and must carry a CE mark. If it doesn't have the CE mark, don't buy it.
Face paints can give rise to skin reactions
Most face paints do not pose a health risk when the directions on the label are followed and when the product is used properly. However, children have more sensitive skin and are more susceptible to developing a reaction, so be aware of any adverse reaction and pay attention to comments from your children on how the face paint feels.
Avoid glitter and capes
In order to protect your children from getting into contact with naked flames, we advise you avoid costumes with glitter as it tends to be more flammable.
Also, capes, trains and dangling sleeves can drag and graze a naked flame more easily and therefore should be avoided.
Batteries instead of Flames
The flame-resistant label and CE label will delay the material catching fire, but it will not prevent the costume from catching fire altogether. Therefore, it is vital parents remove the risk and avoid using candles, or naked flames. Choose battery-operated candles instead of lit ones for pumpkins.
Pick a costume that’s made of one material
Look for costumes made from 100% synthetic fibres like nylon or polyester. Costumes that are made of one single type of material will often catch fire more slowly than those that are made from lots of different materials.
Stop, Drop and Roll
If the worst does happen and your child meets a candle or fire, make sure they know to stop, drop to the ground and roll around. Allow the ground to suffocate the flames and not your hand.
Make sure toys are age appropriate
Make sure the props and toys your child is using this Halloween are suitable.
Some children, particularly those under the age of three, are more vulnerable, particularly to choking and less able to cope with particular toys than older children.