Keep fire safety in mind this Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en is nearing and most children are thinking of pumpkins, costumes, and treats.
Hallowe’en certainly is a fun time and, as a parent, I look forward to it. But we all also must understand something–Hallowe’en poses the danger of ignition of children’s costumes.
While this is a rare event, the risk is there if fire safety is not followed. Children should be closely supervised, and their costumes made or purchased with fire safety in mind.
Purchase costumes, wigs, and props labelled as flame resistant or retardant. Or when creating a costume, plan carefully to ensure it won’t easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame.
Costumes also should be made without billowing or long trailing features that present a higher risk of ignition.
Bear in mind that dried flowers, cornstalks, and leafs in those pretty orange pumpkin garbage bags are highly flammable. Keep crepe paper and other decorations well away from all heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
Decorating with candles should be avoided! Pumpkins can be safely illuminated with small inexpensive flashlights!
And remember to keep exits clear.
With a little creativity, using flashlights instead of candles or torchlights to decorate walkways and yards is highly effective–and it’s much safer for trick-or-treaters.
Instruct children to stay away from open flames or heat sources. And be sure children know the “Stop, Drop and Roll” technique in the event their clothing catches fire.
Provide children with lightweight flashlights as part of their costume instead of candles.
Other safety tips:
•Treats–It’s important to warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering.
•Costume designs–Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists.
If your child is trick-or-treating at dusk or dark, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a vehicle’s headlights.
Bags and sacks also should be light-coloured or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape usually is available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.
Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling (they also should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes). Hats and scarves need to be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over the child’s eyes.
Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than having a child wear a loose-fitting mask that restricts breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
•Pedestrian safety–All young children should always be accompanied by an adult or older, responsible child. Instruct children to walk, not run, from house to house, and use the sidewalk if available rather than walk in the street.
Stress to children that they must be cautious and not run from between parked vehicles, or cross lawns and yards where lawn furniture, ornaments, or clotheslines present dangers.
•Choosing safe houses–It is recommended that children should go only to neighbourhoods they know, and only to houses that have outside lights on!
Children should never, ever enter homes or apartments unless an adult accompanies them!
For those expecting trick-or-treaters, remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps, and porches. Candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns must be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
A friendly reminder to you and your family . . . planning ahead can help make this Hallowe’en a safe one!

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