Parents can – without realising - put their children’s safety at risk at Halloween by buying sub-standard products says NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland). As families prepare to shop for fancy dress costumes and accessories this weekend, NSAI urges parents to look out for particular labels and standards.
“If you’re shopping for a Halloween costume, look out for the CE mark and the Flame Resistant label,” says Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI. “These 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.”
All masks and other Halloween props should also have a visible CE mark. Under Irish and European law, toys must display the CE mark, which demonstrates that the manufacturer has complied with the Irish and European ‘Safety of Toys’ standard (I.S. EN 71). As a result, the product will have undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process.
“Most of the time, you don’t even need to notice that these standards are there,” said Maurice Buckley. “But at this time of year, I would ask people to look out for them particularly since the standards are there for your safety and your children’s.”
The NSAI is Ireland’s official standards and measurement body. It improves the performance of Irish business and protects all consumers by setting, measuring and certifying the standards of goods and services.
“Though our work is often invisible, our standards are part of your life every day,” said Maurice Buckley. “You expect, for example, that the seat belt you put on when you get in the car will keep you safe because it is made to a standard. The brakes will work because they are made to a standard. The toys your children play with – made to standards. The stent used in a heart operation, the artificial hip – made to standards of precision worthy of NASA. Most of the products we encounter in any day, the services we use, will all be governed by standards. And at this time of year, I want people to pay more attention to them than they normally would.”
Tips for Halloween
1. Don’t use illegal fireworks: The purchase and use of fireworks is illegal in Ireland. Remember to report dangerous firework activity to your local Garda station; seal your letterboxes to prevent fireworks coming in to your house; keep all pets indoors to avoid them been targeted and talk to your children about the dangers of fireworks and not to take part in unsupervised firework activity.
2. Look for the flame-resistant CE mark on costumes: When purchasing a Halloween costume or accessories 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.
3. Ensure Halloween novelty lights are safe: 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. The mark should be visible on the product itself or on its packaging. If it doesn’t have the CE mark, don’t buy it.
4. Look for the CE Mark on Halloween Toys: If your child is carrying a plastic costume prop or toy such as a mask or a pitchfork, look for the CE Mark. Under Irish and European law, toys placed on the European market must display 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”, and the product has undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process.