Safety at Halloween is paramount says HSE

 No-one wants to be a killjoy. Yet tragically, every year, children end up hurt or scarred for life as a direct result of taking part in Halloween activities because of not taking simple safety precautions.

The HSE is calling on parents and young people to be extra vigilant in relation to safety in a number of areas over the Halloween period. We would all rather remember Halloween for the right not the wrong reasons.

Dr Patricia Eadie, clinical director of the burns unit at St James’s Hospital and consultant plastic surgeon explains: ”Fireworks are always a cause for concern. Every year we have to treat children who have significant injuries caused by varying types of Halloween activities. There have already been several children who have been admitted to hospital in the run up to this busy period.”

Parents are firstly, advised to ensure that their children are accompanied whilst visiting houses, to seek Halloween treats. It is particularly important that children's fancy dress outfits do not contribute to accidents, long outfits can sometimes cause children to trip and fall. Masks should not obscure vision, reduce hearing or interfere with normal breathing. Long flowing clothes should also be kept away from burning candles.

Nuts and boiled sweets may cause obstruction and choking and parents’ should check their child’s goodie bags.  Secondly, Bonfires are a big part of Halloween and often contain highly combustible materials that can cause respiratory problems and burns. Children should not attend unsupervised.

Fireworks, finally, are effectively illegal in Irelandwith the exception of licensed displays. The majority of illegal fireworks and bangers on sale in markets and from street traders throughout the country are sub-standard and liable to cause injury. Halloween and the preceding weekend are the busiest times of the year for the fire services and are extremely hectic for ambulance and hospital services.

Last updated on: 29 / 10 / 2008