26 September 2023

Fair Trading advises on scary Halloween

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) says it has conjured up some “spook-tacular” safety tips for Halloween lovers, big and small.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said items such as light-up novelties, costumes, and fake blood or tattoos could be fun, provided some basic safety steps were followed.

“Light-up novelties and flashing objects such as jack-o-lanterns, cauldrons, fake candles, torches and wands are often powered by button batteries, but the statistics on button batteries are very concerning,” Ms Fentiman said.

“In Australia one child a month is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting a button battery, with some of them sustaining lifelong or even fatal injuries.”

She said it was important when buying button battery-powered Halloween novelties to check the battery compartment was secured with a screw or similar fastener to prevent children gaining access.

“Also check that any novelties are age-appropriate and don’t pose choking hazards,” Ms Fentiman said.

She said costumes were a key part of Halloween celebrations, but worn outside they should be clearly visible.

“If you or your children will be wearing black or other dark coloured costumes for Halloween, add glow sticks or a reflective strip to your costumes and carry a torch to ensure drivers and other trick-or-treaters can see you,” Ms Fentiman said.

“While it goes without saying to take care around open heat sources such as jack-o-lanterns and heaters, you should also check costume labels for their fire risk and choose those marked ‘flame resistant’ or ‘fire resistant’.”

She said fake tattoos, face paint, make-up, or fake blood could produce an allergic reaction in some people “so having a list of ingredients available for doctors can save them vital time when determining treatment”.

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