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CPSC Reminds Parents How to Prevent Halloween Costume and Decoration-Related Injuries

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 28-Oct-2010

Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior partner

Although we have previously written a number of safety articles regarding Halloween safety, the number of possible situations for accidents is practically endless.  A recent media release by the CPSC summarizes some important considerations for parents about costumes, treats, and decorations. We are reproducing the CPSC publication in its entirety for our readers:

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants parents of trick-or-treaters to know that there is nothing scary about preventing Halloween-related injuries. By taking a few simple safety precautions when selecting costumes and Halloween decorations, consumers can prevent burn, fall and laceration injuries.

Parents who make their kids’ costumes can send off their little ghosts, goblins and superheroes safely by using inherently flame-resistant fabrics, such as polyester and nylon. These materials will resist burning if exposed to an open flame. When purchasing a costume, look for "Flame Resistant" on the product’s tag or packaging

Lighting the night also is made safer when children have no access to open flames. Flameless candles, light sticks and flashlights provide a safe lighting alternative in jack-o’-lanterns and areas where children will have access.

"Uncovering Halloween’s hidden dangers is simple with CPSC’s safety steps," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Thoughtful costume selection, care with candles and careful placement of decorations and lighting will help ensure your Halloween is safe and enjoyable."

In addition to providing safety tips, the CPSC works to keep children and families safe during the holiday celebration by enforcing the Flammable Fabrics Act and recalling hazardous costumes and products at Halloween and throughout the year.

Make this year’s holiday a safe one by following these safety tips on costumes, treats and decorations:

Costumes

  • When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester, 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, large capes or billowing skirts.
  • Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, 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 and be seen.
  • To guard against trips and falls, costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels are not a good idea.
  • Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes and obstructing their 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 material.

Treats

  •  Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
  • Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters younger 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.

Decorations

  • Keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
  • Remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
  • Indoors, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
  • Indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov."

CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

I have four children, who love Halloween, as most kids and parent do.  We are one of those families that deck the house with all kinds of decorations to really get into the spirit of the holiday.   However, my wife and I spend time with our kids every year, teaching them how to be careful as they "trick or treat" throughout our community.  We are also very careful to take precautions with our decorations to be sure we put safety over fun.  There is nothing fun about a tragedy.

Happy Halloween, and please be safe.

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including premises liability, automobile accident, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Law and Politics (2011 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)– national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

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