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Keeping your children fire safe this Halloween

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Halloween is right around the corner so it's time to break out the costumes and candy because goblins, ghouls and witches will roam the streets in just one day.

When you're trying to get together all the last minute details, it is also important not to forget about safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in 2011 more than 3,500 Halloween-related injuries were reported. Those injuries included falls from ill-fitting costumes, impaired vision, and burns from halloween costumes.

In a controlled setting and under the supervision of the Bristol, VA Fire Department, News Channel 11 took four different Halloween costumes to see just how fire safe they are: Superman with a cape, a Snow White princess dress, Elmo, and a pirate costume with a hat.

The first one on the list was Sesame Street's most well known character. The Elmo costume was made of 100% polyester and under three minutes the shirt was almost completely disintegrated.

"This is something that can be frightening, it can be devastating, and it can be fatal," says Bristol, VA Fire Chief J.C. Bolling. "We're in a world of man made fibers now polyester nylon anything synthetic when those materials burn it's like liquid petroleum".

Next, was a toddler's pirate costume. This costume was made with a majority of polyester but this time it was the hat that fell quick to the flame. In just one minute the hat was already halfway burned because of it's foam filling. Fillings like foam is a common material found in many halloween accessories like hats, masks, and wigs that can increase the potential to catch on fire. In addition, accessories are usually worn near the respiratory system that can have an even bigger impact compared to burns on the surface of a child's skin. "Anything that gets near your face or near your eyes you have potential of breathing in gases or inhaling with the flame being present and that can scorch your airway".

Number three on the list was a shiny gold Snow White costume that ended up being the fastest burning one out of all four. In less than one minute the princess dress was already falling off the wire. Chief Bolling says it's the combination of polyester and nylon that causes the flames to quickly engulf the costume.

Some tips Bolling suggests for parents this Halloween who may not be able to find a fire-safe costume last minute is to always be aware of your kids and their surroundings, trim any excess material like capes, and have kids wear a cotton t-shirt and jeans under their costume.

For homeowners, Bolling suggests instead of lighting your jack-o-lanterns with an open flame use an LED candle.

For more tips on staying safe this Halloween, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website:


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