It seems like the school year has barely started when Halloween costumes, decorations and candy start to fill the aisles of Florida stores. It's understandable that parents with multiple kids may opt to dress them in costumes worn previously by older siblings. Whether you're re-using a costume from Halloweens past or buying new ones, it's essential to make sure that they are safe.
One primary source of Halloween costume danger is burning. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1980, at least 16 children suffered burns from their costumes. Nearly all of these children were 12 or younger.
In at least half of these incidents, the flame from a jack-o-lantern or candle touched the costume and set it on fire. In some cases, something electrical on the costume malfunctioned.
The combination of lit Halloween decorations and children in long, flowy or baggy costumes can be trouble waiting to happen. That's why it's essential to make sure that your children's costumes and accessories such as masks and wigs are labeled "flame resistant."
While flame resistant fabrics like polyester and nylon can still catch fire, they should be able to be quickly extinguished before any serious burns occur. This is important to remember if you're making your child's costume as well.
Many costumes aren't complete without a wand, sword, light saber or knife. These should be made of flexible, soft material that can't harm or child (or anyone else) if wielded or fallen on.
The CPSC has a list of recalled products by category on its website. If you have a costume that you're reusing, that someone has given you or that you bought second-hand, make sure that it's not one that's been recalled.
While the makers of Halloween costumes and accessories have improved the safety of these items over the years, sometimes defective and potentially dangerous products make it onto the store shelves or to online retailers. If your child is injured and you believe that the costume or an accessory was to blame, it's important to report it to help ensure that no one else is harmed. You may also want to get some legal guidance to find out what your options are if you want to hold the manufacturer liable for damages such as medical costs.
Source: ABC News, "Is Your Kid's Halloween Costume Safe?," accessed Sep. 08, 2015