Halloween is always one of the most highly anticipated occasions for children. They get to dress up, stay up later than usual, knock on doors and eat a lot of sweets! For parents however Halloween can be both fun and nerve-wracking and it is worth giving some thought to the health and safety concerns which might arise on the big night!
- Young children should always be accompanied by an adult no matter how busy the neighbourhood or street is.
- Older children should always travel in groups, otherwise a parent should accompany them.
- At this time of year the evenings are much darker and drivers’ visibility is reduced. Extra care needs to be taken when walking round the streets.
- Make sure that children are wearing at least one reflective item on their clothes or costume. This will help motorists to see them in the dark.
- Fancy dress costumes should not impede your children from walking or seeing properly in order to avoid trips, slips and falls.
- Talk to your children about personal safety and what they can do to keep safe, eg only approach houses that are decorated for Halloween, take a mobile phone, discuss where they will be going and what time they will be home.
Children’s dressing up clothes may burn rapidly when accidentally ignited. This can cause serious burns and can potentially be fatal. Fancy dress clothing has been implicated in a number of serious accidents and you may recall that in 2014 Claudia Winkleman’s daughter suffered severe burns when her Halloween costume was set alight by a candle. The following points are worth noting:
- Ensure that all Halloween and fancy dress costumes are fire retardant and carry a CE mark on the label.
- All clothing should be kept away from fire, lit candles, fireworks and other naked flames.
- Be aware that homemade fancy dress costumes may ignite easily and burn more quickly.
- Any accompanying props, eg swords, forks, broomsticks etc should be a soft flexible material and be classified as toys.
- Any face paint should also have a CE mark on the packaging.
As a homeowner or occupier of a property you owe a duty of care to all visitors including children approaching your door on Halloween. You may find yourself liable if any accidents are caused by the dangerous condition of your property.
The law in this area is governed by the Occupiers’ Liability Act of 1957. Under this Act you are obliged to exercise reasonable care for the safety of visitors to your property and if you are aware of any specific dangers on your property you must take steps to highlight them, even to those entering your property without permission.
It is therefore advisable to ensure that garden paths are well illuminated and any defects are fenced off or suitable warning notices are provided. Also ensure that any steps leading up to your door are safe. Keep savage dogs or other dangerous animals inside the house at all times.
Have a wonderful time trick-or-treating this year but take care to ensure your Halloween doesn’t turn into a nightmare!
If you have been involved in an accident on Halloween or at any other time please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced lawyers on 0114 218 4161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org