Safety nightmares uncovered on Halloween fright night

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Dangers lurk in some products used in celebrations of the popular event
  • Button batteries, flammable clothing and cosmetic allergies of concern
  • Tips to stay safe and prevent Halloween nightmares
  • Avoid unwanted frights or serious surprises this Halloween by checking that costumes, decorations and novelties are safe.

    While many children and their families look forward to the fun celebration of Halloween each year, Consumer Protection warns that the event comes with unique safety considerations.

    With Halloween becoming increasingly popular in WA, Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Tim Banfield reminds people who embrace the tradition to put safety first, especially for the younger participants.

    “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.” Mr Banfield said.

    “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 time bombs 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. Also ensure the item is robust enough to be dropped without breaking so that the button battery inside can’t come loose.”

    Also of concern are novelty contact lenses which do not require a prescription and can be sold anywhere. They can cause irritations, infections, complications or even blindness through incorrect use.

    Dressing-up is all part of the fun, but some common elements to Halloween costumes can 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,” the Commissioner said.

    “Go for products that are labelled as ‘flame or fire resistant’ but still take care to keep away from open heat and avoid loose fitting costumes that can easily catch alight as 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. Allergies and reactions to ingredients in cosmetics are common and, although mostly mild, can have serious anaphylactic reactions in rare circumstances.

    “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 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.”

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