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Safety Tips For Halloween Trick-or-Treaters

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last year, a 12-year-old Texas girl died of severe burns she received when her homemade Halloween costume caught fire while trick-or treating. The girl's costume, made of burlap strips, caught fire and the fire quickly spread as she brushed past a jack-o'-lantern containing a lighted candle. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing safety tips to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

Halloween-related injuries may involve (1) burns from flammable costumes ignited by open flames from items such as candles and jack-o'-lanterns, (2) eye abrasions from sharp objects attached to masks or costumes, and (3) skin irritations or rashes from decorative face paints or creams.

By following these safety tips, consumers will help make this year's holiday a safe one.

  • Flame Resistant Costumes: When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame resistant nylon or polyester fabrics or look for the label "Flame Resistant." Flame resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
  • Treats: Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
  • Costume Designs: Purchase or make costumes that are light, bright and clearly visible to motorists.
  • For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.
  • Children should carry flashlights to see easily and aid in being seen.
  • Costumes should be short enough so that children won't trip and fall.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother's high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.
  • Tie hats and scarfs securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.
  • If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
  • Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.

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