Halloween and Firework Safety Special

Tips for staying safe at Halloween

Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards Service

As Halloween approaches, parents are warned to be on their guard when buying costumes and wigs for their children.

Because many costumes are seasonal, they often appear in shops within days of arriving in the UK, leaving little time for safety checks by importers and Trading Standards.

Many common materials including cotton are surprisingly flammable, whilst others such as nylon tend to melt and stick to the skin. Although they can be manufactured or treated to reduce flammability, Trading Standards regularly finds items that are unsafe.

Advice for parents:

  • Buy from reputable retailers
  • Check that all Halloween and fancy-dress costumes you buy carry a CE or UKCA mark on the label
  • As with all clothing, Halloween and fancy-dress outfits should always be kept away from fire, lit candles, and all other naked flames

If lit candles are part of your celebrations always follow their safety guidelines, and remember:

  • Always supervise children and pets if using lit candles
  • Do not allow children to carry, play, reach over, light or be near lit candles
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Remember always to extinguish a candle completely after use
  • Take care when using candles at Halloween. Do not carry pumpkins with lit candles inside, consider using battery-operated candles instead

If you have concerns about the safety of children's toys or costumes remember you can report this to Trading Standards via Citizen's Advice on 0800 144 8848 or at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Remember, remember…stay safe with fireworks

Despite annual safety warnings, firework celebrations still end in painful injuries for too many people, including very young children.

Yet fireworks can be great fun for families, not just around November 5 (Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night), but also Diwali, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year.

Injury figures support the advice that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display - far fewer people are injured here than at smaller family or private parties.

But if you'll be having a firework party at home, you can make the occasion fun and safe for everyone by following the Firework Code, as well as some sparkler and bonfire safety tips.

Firework code

Only adults should deal with setting up firework displays, the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used (and remember, alcohol and fireworks don't mix!). Children and young people should be supervised and watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance. Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party:

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE or UKCA marks. In the case of Northern Ireland look for the CE symbol. You may also see the UKNI mark along with the CE symbol. Keep your fireworks in a closed box, and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Make sure that the fire is out, and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Sparkler safety

Sparklers are often viewed as being harmless, but they burn at fierce temperatures, equivalent to a welding torch. Follow these top tips for sparkler safety:

  • It is recommended that sparklers are not given to under-5s
  • Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves
  • Hold sparklers at arm's length while being lit and light them one at a time
  • Don't wave sparklers about close to other people
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler
  • When the sparkler has finished put it in a bucket of cold water

Advice reproduced with permission from ROSPA. www.rospa.com