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Is Your Child's Halloween Costume Safe?

Jul 3, 2008
During all the excitement of Halloween celebrations, dangers associated with costumes are rarely on the minds of the average person. They are, however, of serious concern. Despite the so-called safety testing conducted by costume makers and manufacturers, individuals are harmed by unsafe Halloween costumes every October. By being aware of the possible dangers and taking steps to protect yourself, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant holiday.

One example of the dangers unsafe costumes can bring is that of a seven-year-old boy who was severely burned in 2004. Photos were taken and distributed of the boy's Lord of the Rings 'Ring Wraith' costume which, despite catching fire and hurting the boy, is still made and sold. How can you protect your children from such a tragedy?

First, consider the material used to make the costume. Those made from 100% nylon or polyester are best since they do not tend to catch fire. Even if they do, the flames are quickly extinguished. Besides the danger of the fire itself, melted polyester can drip onto and burn the skin. Be aware that some costumes have decorations or trimmings that are polyester or nylon while the costume itself is not. Anything apart from these pieces can potentially catch fire and burn, including any other article of clothing the child is wearing apart from the costume itself. Many costumes of superheroes contain ignitable foam padding. Costumes that are 100% acrylic come with the most potential danger since they are highly flammable.

Beware of homes with Halloween decorations that feature lit candles or other open flames. Avoid using these in your own home as well. Since costumes tend to be larger and less maneuverable than most clothing, children may have a hard time ensuring that it does not come in contact with decorative candles.

Besides the obvious risks associated with fire, Halloween costumes put their wearers in danger for other reasons. Costumes that are especially long and that include masks or other headwear could impede clear vision and make children more susceptible to tripping and falling, which is responsible for many injuries annually.

Using contact lenses of a specific design or color has become more popular in recent years as a part of many costumes. These contacts, sold anywhere from flea markets to gas stations, are popular with adults and can cause serious eye problems. They have been implicated in bacterial infections, corneal abrasions, and other injuries that can permanently affect vision.

The sale of such contacts is essentially unregulated, so their level of cleanliness and overall quality cannot be trusted. The best rule to follow is simple. Don't put things into your eyes that shouldn't be there in the first place.

While there certainly are some dangers associated with its celebration, Halloween can be an enjoyable day for everyone. Simply apply the above mentioned suggestions and stay safe during this holiday.
About the Author
Struggling to come up with some creative Halloween costumes for your kids this year? Visit the Get In Costume website for lots of helpful ideas. Plus, get your free copy of my special report "The Family Guide To Halloween Safety" at http://www.getincostume.com
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