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Reminding Canadians to have a safe Halloween

Starting date:
October 24, 2012
Posting date:
October 24, 2012
Type of communication:
Information Update
Subcategory:
Children's Products, Cosmetics, Tampering
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Important Safety Information
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-15079

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for children. Health Canada would like to remind all Canadians of some important safety tips they can use to ensure that Halloween remains an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Costume safety

Halloween can be a magical time of year for children as they dress up in wonderful and outrageous costumes and gather bags full of treats. However, coming up with a creative disguise doesn't mean that safety should be forgotten, so here are some Halloween safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that costumes are loose enough to be worn over warm clothing, but not so baggy or long that children can trip over their costumes. Children should also wear sturdy walking shoes.
     
  • Choose brightly-coloured costumes that will be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility, add or incorporate reflective tape into the costume.
     
  • Make-up and face paint are better than wearing masks, which can restrict breathing and/or vision. If you choose to use a mask, make sure it is one that allows the child to see and breathe easily.
     
  • Look for costumes, beards and wigs labelled "Flame-Resistant" -- nylon or heavyweight polyester costumes are best. "Flame-Resistant" does not mean 'fire proof'. Avoid costumes with baggy sleeves or flowing skirts to minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources. Costumes made of flimsy materials have been found to burn more quickly when exposed to fire sources.

The goodies

Parents or caregivers are encouraged to remind children not to accept - and especially not to eat - homemade candy or baked goods (provided by individuals they don't know). Also, an adult should inspect all the treats before children start snacking. A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Discard homemade candy or baked goods provided by people you don't know.
     
  • Throw out any treats that are not commercially wrapped, those in torn or loose packages, or any that have small holes in the wrappers.
     
  • Remove choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys when young children are involved.
     
  • Wash fresh fruit thoroughly, inspect for holes, including small punctures and cuts, and if found, do not let children or adults eat the fruit.
     
  • Avoid treats that may contain ingredients like peanuts, milk and egg that can cause severe adverse reactions in individuals who have allergies or sensitivities. Parents or caregivers of children with food allergies should read labels carefully and avoid candies that do not have an ingredient list.

Trick-or-treating

When trick-or-treating, parents should accompany their children each year until the children are old enough to go by themselves. Safety-minded parents can follow along at a distance to keep an eye on the children. A few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Tell your children not to eat any goodies until you see them. Make sure that your child eats dinner before they set out, so they'll be less tempted to eat their goodies along the way.
     
  • Children should stay in well-lit areas and should only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on. Children should never go inside homes or cars.
     
  • Children should walk, not run, from house to house and stay on the sidewalk or at the side of the road facing traffic, cross the road at the corner and look both ways before crossing the road.

For more information about Halloween Safety, please visit the following webpages: Halloween Food Safety Tips, Safe Halloween, Costumes and Dress-up and It's Your Health on Halloween Safety.

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