Safety nightmares uncovered this fright night
Avoid unwanted frights or serious surprises this Halloween by checking that costumes, decorations and novelties are safe and nasty-free.
NT Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Sandy Otto, said that many children and their families look forward to Halloween each year. It’s a fun and unique celebration, that comes with its own unique safety considerations.
“Halloween is growing increasingly popular in Australia and the NT Consumer Affairs is reminding everyone embracing the tradition to put safety first, especially for the younger participants,” Ms Sandy Otto said.
“You, or your children, might be getting dressed-up, decorating, or planning to trick-or-treat in your neighbourhood and it’s important you check that everything you’re using is safe and where applicable meets Australian safety standards.
“Typically on Halloween, button batteries can be used to power light-up novelty and flashing objects like lanterns, cauldrons, fake candles, wands and masks.
“Button batteries are ticking timebombs for children and in Australia one child a month is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting a button battery.
“Check the product and if it does have a button battery, make sure the product has a child-resistant battery compartment and that the battery is secure, this is especially important for little hands. Also ensure the item is robust enough to be dropped without breaking so that the button battery inside can’t come loose.”
Sandy Otto said that dressing-up is all part of the fun, but some common elements to Halloween costumes can also pose a risk, particularly in terms of flammability.
“There are so many ready-made spooky costumes, wigs, masks and accessories out in the market, but you should always check their labels.
“Go for products that are labelled as ‘flame resistant’ or ‘fire resistant’ but still take care to keep away from open heat and avoid loose fitting costumes that can easily catch alight - even if you choose garments with a ‘flame resistant’ or ‘fire resistant’ label, they can still be flammable.
“No great Halloween costume is complete without a touch of fake blood, face paint or makeup, or even a temporary tattoo.
“According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, allergies and reactions to ingredients in cosmetics are common – mostly mild but in rare circumstances can have serious anaphylactic reactions.
“In Australia, it is mandatory that all cosmetic ingredients are clearly labelled.
“Before applying anything to the face or body, double check that the product you’re using is not only labelled, but if any of the ingredients listed are known allergens to you or your child.
“By making a couple of quick checks to costumes and decorations you can make sure everyone gets into the Halloween spirit, while reducing the risk of injury.”
Finally, if you’re designing a costume, make sure that it is visible.
“Often Halloween costumes are black, which makes it hard to see them in the dark. Never let a child go out in an all-black costume.
“Add bright colours, glow sticks or a reflective strip and carry a torch so drivers and other trick-or-treaters can see you.”
More information, including a list of product recalls, is available online at www.productsafety.gov.au.