UK adults need to do more to keep children safe at Halloween, as survey finds that only one in three adults who celebrate “fright night” check the safety of costumes

25/10/2015

More than 16 million UK adults will be celebrating Halloween next weekend - but while they are well aware of the dangers of Bonfire Night, less than a third consider and act on the very real risks at Halloween.

A survey, commissioned by quality solutions provider Intertek, who test products, and the safety charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of the UK adult population has celebrated Halloween over the last three years – with 39 per cent saying that they plan to mark the occasion this weekend.

But while 50 per cent of the people celebrating know the risks around Bonfire night – open fires, sparklers and fireworks – only one in three would consider or do anything to keep children away from lit pumpkins and burning candles at Halloween.

Almost half (45 per cent) of the adults who said they would be celebrating Halloween, do not consider or check the safety and CE marks on costumes.

Despite the tragic accident involving Claudia Winkelman’s daughter last year, one in four people who celebrate Halloween had either not considered or chosen to ignore the risks of children in Halloween costumes being near naked flames. Almost half (48 per cent) of those celebrating said they assumed retailers would check Halloween items for safety and CE marks.

It was also concerning that the Intertek RoSPA survey found that only one in three considered or did anything to make sure that children had reflective clothing so they could be seen when crossing roads at night.

Another Halloween danger - leaving lit pumpkins unattended - was also either not considered or ignored by a third of people celebrating Halloween.

Intertek Retail Services Director UK & Eire, Christine Smith, said: “Despite the alarm bells raised by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter’s accident last year, our survey found that the UK population still need to be reminded of the risks at Halloween. While retailers take steps to ensure their Halloween costumes and candles are safe, it’s important that everyone is aware of the risks and acts on them.”

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at RoSPA, said: "We want people to have fun at Halloween. By taking just a few minutes to think about safety, particularly the risk of naked flames to children in costumes, we can prevent unwanted and upsetting trips to A&E."

Intertek commissioned the survey with RoSPA to better understand people’s attitudes to Halloween safety such as lit pumpkins and Halloween costumes. They have put together the following tips to help people celebrate Halloween safely. Follow these top tips, for a safe Halloween!

  1. Candles are used at Halloween, so please use them carefully.
  2. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  3. Don’t allow children to play with or be around lit candles. Use battery operated candles instead.
  4. When outside, ensure children can be seen in the dark. Ensure they wear something reflective such as a reflective strip or a glow stick, and carry a torch.
  5. If outside, ensure children are supervised by a suitable adult.
  6. Remind children of how to cross roads safely before leaving home.
  7. Remove any Halloween make-up or fake blood immediately, if irritation occurs. It could be the first indication of an allergic reaction to something within the cosmetic.
  8. Dressing up costumes should be tested against the toy standards' flammability requirements and carry a CE mark. But remember that even these costumes need to be kept away from naked flames.
  9. Please be aware that items you may make or use may not have had any flammability testing so could ignite easily.
  10. Follow the Firework Code (see www.saferfireworks.com for more information).

For photographs and other requests email: pressoffice@rospa.com or call 0121 248 2135.

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