Hints for parents to ensure Hallowe’en safety

PARENTS have been urged to exercise caution and think of their children’s safety ahead of the Halloween weekend.

The National Parents Council (Primary) echoed the recent sentiments of gardaí and fire officers in warning about the dangers of fireworks and bonfires.

Council chief executive Fionnuala Kilfeather issued a reminder that fireworks were not only dangerous, but also illegal.

“Each year, about 20 children lose part of a hand or a finger due to fireworks. Dogs and cats can be very scared and pets should be kept indoors around Hallowe’en but guide dogs can’t be kept indoors and are severely traumatised by the loud bangers and fireworks,” she said.

“Bonfires need to be carefully supervised by adults in safe places, away from electric wires and houses.

“It seems obvious not to put dangerous or explosive objects in bonfires, but every year there are bonfire accidents,” said Ms Kilfeather.

She also advised adults to put bonfires out fully and keep a close eye on candles and lighting pumpkins, especially given the high flammability of Hallowe’en costumes.

As children prepare to go call on neighbours on Sunday night, the parents council also advised that children should be accompanied discretely and keep the motto to ‘Trick or treat on your own street’ in mind.

Motorists are also reminded to be extra vigilant as children may be wearing dark costumes and clocks will have gone back to winter times from the early hours of Sunday morning.

Ms Kilfeather pointed to the fact that Hallowe’en comes only second to Christmas in extracting hard-earned cash from mothers and fathers and urged use of parental power when it comes to games and outfits.

“Try an apple on a string, money in the water, bobbing apples and others. Dressing up is great fun and children can get hours of creative fun from inventing costumes themselves,” she said.

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