It's a night of delightfully creepy fun and games for children of all ages, but the HSE list of advisory tips to ensure safety comes first is as important to remember – even down to choosing those all-important costumes and props for your little ones.
Halloween costumes and accessories
Check the label
Look for the CE mark when you are buying children’s costumes and costume accessories.
The CE mark means the outfit meets current safety laws.
Check that anything you dress your child in is flame resistant. It should say on the label. Be aware of fire risks. Some costumes can catch fire easily.
Not all Halloween props are safe for kids
If you are buying props for your child’s costume, these may not be classified as toys or meet the safety requirements or standards for toys. Make sure that props for example swords, devil forks and other costume accessories, are made of soft flexible materials. Novelty Halloween lights, similar to Christmas lights, are very popular. All electrical products sold in the EU must meet safety regulations, have a visible CE mark and have full contact details of the manufacturer and importer.
Make sure all costumes, accessories and props fit correctly and avoid over-sized shoes, high heels, long dresses, and long capes and be sure children wear their normal clothes under their costume. This is so they will have some protection if the costume catches fire.
Know what to look out for with Halloween novelty face paint
If you’re buying face paints, buy from a reputable source where the product can be traced to a supplier. Always check the packaging has a clear list of the ingredients and instructions. The CE mark and the manufacturer and importer contact details should be included on the packaging. Check if there are any warnings saying it’s not suitable to use on children. Try using non-toxic face paint, but make sure it has the CE mark. Check the label for any warnings and the list of ingredients.
Make sure your child is visible in the dark
The evenings are dark this time of year so it’s important to make sure your child can be seen when out and about. Remember many costumes are dark so ideally your child should wear a reflective strip on the front and back or a high vis vest and carry a torch. Your child can easily remove their vest when they arrive at each house and slip it back on again before moving onto the next one.
It is a good idea to avoid poorly lit areas and use footpaths where available. If you are driving at Halloween, remember to slow down and watch out for children in dark costumes out and about and treat or treating.
Halloween fire risks
Avoid fireworks or unsupervised bonfires
Fireworks are illegal in Ireland with the exception of licensed displays. Most of the illegal fireworks and bangers on sale in markets and from street traders are manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious injuries to children.
Plan family fun and activities that don’t include fireworks and do not allow children to attend unsupervised bonfires. Be cautious even at supervised bonfires. You never know when someone might throw something into the bonfire that could be highly flammable or toxic. Water or the appropriate fire extinguisher should always be nearby. Children should never hold lit sparklers as they can burn as hot as 700oC.
If your child’s clothes catch fire, get them to:
- drop to the ground, covering their face with their hands
- roll on the ground until the fire is out
If they cannot do this, smother the flames with a blanket or towel.
If their skin gets burnt, hold the burnt skin under a cool running tap water for 20 minutes.
Keep the rest of your child's body warm while you are cooling the burnt area. This is to prevent hypothermia. Get medical help right away. In an emergency phone 999 or 112.
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