With the ever-increasing popularity of Halloween, the importance of highlighting the key dangers associated with the holiday is as crucial as ever.
One main cause for concern is the potential fire risk of children’s Halloween costumes which has received a lot of coverage in the news. Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Claudia Winkleman, is actively campaigning for stricter safety regulations around the Halloween period and a quality control on the material used and flammable nature of fancy dress costumes. This comes after the horrifying ordeal for her daughter Matilda who suffered severe burns in 2014 when her witch Halloween costume caught fire and ‘went up’ as Claudia describes it.
Organisations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and the British Retail Consortium (NRC) have been working hard to develop a new testing standard for the flammability of fancy dress costumes. There has been a lot of coverage of the costumes of major retailers being set alight to see how quickly they burn and following testing in UK laboratories the new stringent, voluntary standard means costumes should have a burn rate of 10mm per minute which is 300 per cent slower than the current 30mm per minute standard. This will hopefully give parents more time to put out a fire or get the clothes off a child. However, whilst it is hoped that this coverage has been successful in raising the awareness of the potential dangers, there is really is no substitute for ensuring children are kept away from naked flames and protecting then from catching fire in the first place.
Whilst the holiday is spooktacular fun for all, unfortunately it comes with dangers. Ensure that you are aware of these dangers and consider the below tips whilst you celebrate this year:
- Consider using flameless battery operated candles to avoid the risk of anyone being exposed to a naked flame.
- Take care when buying face paints/fake blood and test a patch of skin first to avoid any nasty allergic reactions. Remove it immediately at the first sign of any itching or adverse reaction.
- Buy any costumes from a reputable retailer and ensure it has a CE mark and is flame retardant.
- Not only is the material of any costumes important but the sizing is too, particularly with young children. Ensure costumes are the right size to avoid any little ones tripping over in a costume that is too big. The same applies to face masks so ensure they can see and breathe easily whilst they are wearing it.
- Ensure all children are accompanied whilst they are out trick-or-treating.
- Whilst out trick-or-treating be extra vigilant whilst crossing roads and walking the streets.
- To improve visibility, apply reflective tape to yours and your children’s clothing/costumes.
- If you are motorist then be wary that there is likely to be an increase in the amount of pedestrians over the Halloween period and therefore keep your speed low.