Although Halloween is a time to watch scary movies and listen to ghost stories, these are not the real dangers of this time of year. Although many parents carefully check their children’s candy for tampering, even candy safety does not cause as many injuries as fire during Halloween. For many children and teens, fires and burn injuries are the real personal injuries which are a risk at this time of year. There are many things that parents can do to help prevent these common injuries:
1) Light candles with lights rather than candles. Jack o’ lanterns are a major cause of burn injuries each year, as children peer into jack o’ lanterns or get too close with their costumes. The best way to prevent these accidents is to use specially-designed LED or portable lights in pumpkins rather than candles. These are not only safer, but they can light your carved pumpkin for a much longer time.
2) Look out for candles and dry ice. Many families decorate their homes with candles to create that “spooky” Halloween look. Some families also add ice to punch bowls to create steaming “witches brews.” While both these ideas can make your home festive, candles and dry ice can pose a burn hazard. If you have small children, you will need to either supervise carefully or avoid candles and dry ice for a few years, until your children know how to stay safe. At the very least, ensure that dry ice and candles are kept well out of reach of small children.
3) Choose costumes carefully. Look for age-appropriate costumes and ensure that you follow any safety precautions on store-bought costumes. Whether you are making your own costumes or renting or buying costumes, make sure that outfits fit correctly, with no dangling pieces that can cause trip and fall accidents, fires, or choking. Where possible, look for costumes made of non-flammable materials.
4) Read labels on makeup and costume accessories. Keep in mind that cosmetics can also cause burns and rashes on sensitive skin. Always buy high-quality makeup for costumes and check for freshness – throw out cosmetics that are expired. Test makeup on a small area for allergies before playing makeup over an entire face.
5) Do not leave jack o’ lanterns, candles, and other home décor accessories unattended. Dry ice, candles, lit jack o’ lanterns, external lights, lanterns, and other decorations can be a fire hazard if left burning all night without supervision. Make sure that someone is always present to supervise.