How to keep children safe this Halloween
Halloween can be an exciting time of year for children, dressing up and going out after dark. But, whilst Halloween is supposed to be spooky there are some horrors that families will want to avoid.
So, here are our top tips for a safe Halloween that you can remember for all the right reasons.
1. Remember Halloween costumes are highly flammable
Many fancy dress costumes are not manufactured to the same safety standards as normal clothing, meaning they can ignite almost instantly and burn far faster.
That’s why it is crucial to ensure children wearing Halloween costumes are kept well away from naked flames and other heat sources at all times.
2. Try to buy costumes from a reputable store or website
It may mean spending a bit more but buying from a reputable store or website will be safer. Cheap costumes may not meet UK safety standards and may carry fake safety labels.
3. Check costume labels for a UKCA or CE mark
These labels don’t mean a costume won’t catch fire. But it has been tested for fire safety so it should burn more slowly.
Also, The British Retail Consortium has introduced stricter fire safety tests for children’s dressing-up costumes. Look for a label that says: “This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability”.
4. Encourage children to layer up
If children wear clothes under their dressing-up costumes, there is a layer of protection between the costume and their skin. This can help protect their skin if their costume catches fire.
Discover what to do in an emergency with burns first aid
5. Teach children to Stop, Drop and Roll
Ahead of Halloween, make sure children know what to do if their clothes catch fire. The instinct is to run. So, encourage them to practice stopping, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and rolling over a few times to put out the flames.
[Image credit: National Fire Prevention Agency]
6. Keep candles well out of the path of trick or treaters
Candles and lit pumpkins create a fantastic spooky atmosphere but can be dangerous. Keep them well out of the path of trick or treaters and away from any Halloween decorations that might catch light.
Remember not to put candles on a surface that may burn. And, in all the excitement, don’t forget to blow them out when you’re done.
7. Consider switching to battery-powered candles
You may want to switch to LED / flameless battery-powered candles to reduce the fire risk. But, be sure the battery compartment is secure. Many LED lights, and the remote controls for them, contain button batteries which can badly hurt or kill a small child if they swallow one and it gets stuck.
Learn more about the dangers of button batteries
8. Be visible
Visibility is important all year round. However, after the clocks go back, it gets dark much earlier. By Halloween it will be dusk by 5 o’clock, just when children are out trick or treating.
Reflective tape can make a fun addition to Halloween costumes and make children more visible to drivers at twilight, as it is picked up in car headlights.
Fluorescent glow sticks and glow jewellery can make good costume accessories and can also help make children more visible to drivers.
If you’re going out earlier with little ones, then bright or fluorescent clothing is better for daytime visibility.
9. Stay safe near roads
Masks can make it harder for children to see or hear traffic. So, save the special masks for indoors and use face paint for trick or treating.
Encourage children to put mobile phones away when they are out trick or treating and crossing roads. Instead of using the phone as a light, carry a torch.
Children under 12 are best accompanied by an adult. Agreeing a pre-planned route for children over 12 and having a way of contacting a trusted adult if they need to offers freedom with less risk.
Visit our road safety hub for more tips
10. Carve carefully
Carving pumpkins has become a great Halloween tradition. If your child isn’t old enough to handle a sharp knife safely there are plenty of ‘no-carve pumpkin’ ideas all over the internet. Just do a quick search on Pinterest. You will be amazed at the creativity.
11. Watch out for treats that might be a choking hazard for young children
Lollipops, hard candy and mini eggs in particular can pose a serious choking risk. Plus, remember it’s best to avoid eating while walking or running, so you may want to save up all the treats to enjoy back at home.
Learn more about choking prevention
12. Be wary of button batteries
Light-up decorations such as pumpkins, cauldrons, torches and wands are fantastic for creating a spooktactular atmosphere. But many of these items are powered by button batteries which can badly hurt or kill a child if swallowed.
That’s why it’s so important when buying button battery-powered Halloween novelties that you check the battery compartment is secured with a screw or similar fastener to prevent children gaining access.
Learn more about button battery safety
We hope you have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!