Keep Kids Happy and Safe This Halloween

Flammable costumes and a new chemical are Halloween hazards to avoid.

Oct. 31, 2008 — -- Halloween is supposed to be scary fun for kids, but not dangerous.

Every year, though, the Good Housekeeping Institute finds costumes that are highly flammable -- the No. 1 Halloween hazard.

"Most injuries at Halloween involve flammable costumes and decorations," said Nancy Nord of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Parents should choose costumes made from flame-resistant fabrics like nylon and polyester, keep candles away from costumes or, better yet, use flickering LED lights instead.

Hazard No. 2: Lead-tainted toys, makeup and other products. Despite the publicity about lead last year, this week the consumer safety commission issued a voluntary recall for Halloween figurines because they were covered in lead paint.

And many parents were alarmed when they saw a label on Halloween makeup sold at Target saying it may contain lead.

"For me, it's kind of upsetting. I think it's unnecessary. I think at this point in time, we could create the same product without unnecessary components," said St. Paul, Minn., mom Emily Mosso.

In a statement to ABC News, Target said, "The label simply indicates that certain chemicals may be present but exist in low amounts, which are below federal safety limits."

The solution: avoid cheap Halloween products altogether, or at least have your kids wash their hands thoroughly after touching them and before eating.

Hazard No. 3: Watch out for choking hazards, such as toys or trinkets with small parts, especially for children younger than 3 years old who most often put things in their mouths.

The solution: Even though Halloween trinkets don't last for long, they can still pose all the same hazards as regular toys and parents need to look at them with the same critical eye.

A new threat this year is the chemical melamine. Canadian authorities issued a warning about chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil that contain the chemical. It's the same poison that sickened thousands of Chinese babies and killed hundreds of pets.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of melamine-tainted candy in the United States.

The final Halloween hazard is traffic. Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year because so many children are out. The solution is to put reflective tape on costumes, give kids lots of flashlights and for motorists to take extra care tonight.

More safety tips from the CSPC.

Halloween safety alerts from Good Housekeeping Institute.