Fire hazards, falling injuries among Halloween risks

Fire hazards, falling injuries among Halloween risks

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Fire hazards, falling injuries among Halloween risks


by Ryan Jaslow

CBS News

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 10:24 AM

(CBS) -- Are you putting yourself in harm's way this Halloween?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says each Halloween it receives reports of preventable injuries, such as dislocated shoulders from falling, second-degree burns from open flames and other injuries involving ill-fitting costumes and other holiday decor.

"Too often Halloween make believe has resulted in real life injury," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a press release. "Fortunately, prevention is simple. Choose flameless candles, flame-retardant materials and well-fitting costumes to reduce the risk of injury this Halloween."

To help prevent pets or children from safety pitfalls like knocking down a burning candle lighting illuminating a Jack-o'-Lantern and other Halloween-related incidents, the CPSC and other organizations have some safety tips.


This Halloween, the CPSC advises picking flame-retardant materials such as nylon and polyester when buying or making costumes and accessories. Look for the label "flame resistant."

The agency also says to choose battery-operated candles and lights instead of open-flame candles. If you do use candles, keep candles and Jack-o'-Lantern away from landings and doorsteps, where costumes could brush against the flame. When indoors, keep burning candles away from curtains, decorations, and other items that could ignite.

Never leave burning candles unattended.


When buying a costume, people should purchase or make ones that are light-colored, bright and clearly visible to motorists. Don't blend in with the night -- trim costume and outerwear with reflective tape. Reflective tape is typically available at hardware, bicycle and sporting good stores.

The CPSC also advises carrying flashlights or glow sticks when trick-or-treating after dusk.


Staying true to your costume is not worth a trip to the emergency room. Adjust costumes to ensure a good fit, CPSC says. Be especially careful with long skirts or capes that can drag on the ground and cause falls.

Keep hats, scarves and masks should be secured to ensure adequate visibility and ventilation. High heels are not a good idea for kids says the CPSC; stick to sturdy shoes. Swords, knives and other accessories should be made of soft, flexible material to prevent injury.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends not wearing decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses. Otherwise you may risk scratches, infections, decreased vision and blindness.


Children should not eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering, CPSC advises.

Also carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters who are younger than 3 years of age. Do not allow young kids 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 raise choking risk.

The FDA says potential choking hazards on Halloween are gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.