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Consumer Protection is investigating a Halloween-related incident involving exploding gunpowder that has caused a serious injury to a Perth boy’s hand.
The 11 year old boy was opening a packet of ring caps to load into his cap gun when several of the capsules exploded, causing second degree burns to his right hand. He was taken to hospital for treatment.
Acting Executive Director for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the supplier and the retailer of these items will be interviewed as part of the investigation.
“We need to establish very quickly if this incident is a one-off occurrence or if there is something fundamentally wrong with the product or its packaging that might render it dangerous to others,” Ms Lipscombe said.
“We will be reporting the results of our investigation to the ACCC which is the national agency that oversees product safety in Australia. In the meantime, the retailer has voluntarily removed the product from sale both in store and online.”
There are risks associated with many other Halloween products of which consumers need to be aware before 31 October.
“Novelties that light up and flashing objects such as jack-o-lanterns, cauldrons, fake candles, torches and wands are often powered by button batteries and unfortunately the statistics on button batteries are concerning,” Ms Lipscombe added.
“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.
“That’s why it’s so important when buying button battery-powered Halloween novelties that you check the battery compartment is secured with a screw or similar fastener to prevent little ones gaining access, and that they are hardy enough to withstand rough treatment from little trick-or-treaters.
“Also check that any toys or novelties are age appropriate and don’t pose choking hazards.
“Costumes are a key part of Halloween celebrations, but if going to be used outside, it’s vitally important to make sure they are 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.
“Carrying around open heat sources such as jack-o-lanterns and heaters can pose a hazard so you should check costume labels for their fire risk and choose those marked ‘flame resistant’ or ‘fire resistant’.
“Usually the Halloween look involves fake tattoos, face paint, makeup, or fake blood, but ensure they come with ingredients labels and keep them handy throughout the night. If someone in your group has an allergic reaction to a product, having a list of ingredients available for doctors can save them vital time when determining how to treat them.”
For more information on Halloween safety, contact Consumer Protection by email email@example.com or call 1300 30 40 54.
If you suspect a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for 24/7 fast, expert advice. If your child is having any difficulty breathing, dial 000.
Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org