With Halloween just around the corner, children will soon be out in costume trekking through festive displays in search of candy. However, more than ghosts could be lurking amongst the mid-fall fun, as Halloween costumes and decorations present a number of hidden fire hazards.
Follow these tips from NFPA to help ensure a day of safe fun for your family and trick-or-treaters:
- Costumes: stay away from billowing or long-trailing fabric. Choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
- Visibility: Give children flashlights glow sticks. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see clearly.
- Flammable decorations: Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Candles/Jack-o-lanterns: It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, keep them well attended at all times. Do not leave them near flammable objects or where trick-or-treaters may walk. Remind your children to avoid open flames. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
- Exits: Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes
NFPA’s most recent statistics show that decorations were the first items to be ignited in an average of 860 reported home structure fires per year from 2009-2013, causing an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage. Nearly half of all decoration fires in homes are the result of decorations being too close to a heat source.