Trick or treat safely this Halloween

AGE FOTOSTOCK

Halloween can be a fun holiday for children to dress up and play.

But as the spooky holiday has crept upon us for another year, it is also important for parents to ensure celebrations go smoothly in order to avoid a trip to the hospital.

In particular, officials at the U.K.'s Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) have urged people to abide by fire safety rules, as loose clothing can go up in flames if it catches on a burning candle.

"Many fancy dress costumes are not manufactured to the same safety standards as normal clothing, meaning they can ignite almost instantly and burn far faster. That's why it is crucial to ensure children wearing Halloween costumes are kept well away from naked flames and other heat sources at all times," they commented. "It may mean spending a bit more but buying from a reputable store or website will be safer. Cheap costumes may not meet U.K. safety standards and may carry fake safety labels."

Check costume labels for a UKCA or CE mark as this means they have been tested for fire safety.

It's also important to have children wear regular clothes under their costumes for an extra layer of protection, keep trick-or-treaters well away from candles, and opt for LED/ flameless battery-powered candles when possible.

When taking kids outside at night, always make sure they are accompanied by adults who have a pre-planned route and are carrying torches.

"Visibility is important all year round. However, after the clocks go back, it gets dark much earlier. By Halloween, it will be dusk by five o'clock, just when children are out trick or treating," the experts advised. "Reflective tape can make a fun addition to Halloween costumes and make children more visible to drivers at twilight, as it is picked up in car headlights. Fluorescent glow sticks and glow jewellery can make good costume accessories and can also help make children more visible to drivers. If you're going out earlier with little ones, then bright or fluorescent clothing is better for daytime visibility."

Some other key safety tips include painting pumpkins instead of carving them, especially if children are too small to handle knives, and checking that treats, such as hard sweets, marshmallows or eggs, are not a choking hazard.

"Lollipops, hard candy and mini eggs in particular can pose a serious choking risk. Plus, remember it's best to avoid eating while walking or running, so you may want to save up all the treats to enjoy back at home," they added.