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Avoiding Halloween's Hidden Dangers

Children around the country are eagerly anticipating the night when they will wear their favorite costume and search for fun and delicious treats. As Halloween creeps up, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds parents and caregivers that when it comes to Halloween safety, there is no trick. Hidden dangers associated with costumes and treats can be easily prevented, so that the holiday celebration is a real treat. Follow these safety tips to ensure this year's holiday is a fun, safe, and happy one.

Costume Safety

  • When purchasing costumes, masks, beards, and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester, or look for the label "Flame Resistant."
  • Purchase or make costumes that are light, bright, and clearly visible to motorists.
  • Costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground to guard against trips and falls.
  • For greater visibility at dusk and in the dark, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights.
  • Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels can be a trip hazard or lead to twisted ankles.
  • Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over the child's eyes and obstructing vision.
  • If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eye holes large enough to allow full vision.
  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible materials.

Treat Safety

  • Warn children not to eat any treats until an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
  • Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters less than three years of age.
  • Do not allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard or that have small parts or components that could separate during use and present a choking hazard.

Personal Safety

  • Check for registered sex offenders in your area before determining your children's trick-or-treat route. Almost every state has a registered sex offender site, and you can search a national list at www.familywatchdog.us/ that includes addresses and photos.
  • It's safest to accompany your children, but know the route your children will be taking if you aren't going with them. Consider setting check-in times during the evening, and enforce the importance of not deviating from the planned route or determined time to return home.
  • Know what other activities children may be attending, such as parties, school, or mall functions. If they are going to be at a friend's home, get the phone number and make sure that you've met the parents.
  • Teach your kids that they should never go into a house that they don't know, get into a car with, or go anywhere with a stranger. If a stranger attempts to coerce them, they should scream "STRANGER" repeatedly, as loud as they can to draw attention, and run to a mother with kids or back to a group.
  • Show your children how to cross a street properly. They should always look in all directions before crossing the street and should only cross at corners or crosswalks.
  • Explain to kids of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny, but clean up and damages can ruin Halloween for everyone.

Consumers can stay informed of recalls by signing up to receive e-mail notification of recalls at www.cpsc.gov.

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