A young Perth boy has been left with second-degree burns after his Halloween toy “exploded”.
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The 11-year-old High Wycombe boy was “opening a packet of ring caps to load into his cap gun when several of the capsules exploded,” the Government of Western Australia Department of Industry Regulation and Safety said.
He was taken to hospital and treated for second-degree burns to his right hand.
“It was a shock, we’ve used these for years as have thousands of people so for us to have it happen, it was a real shock,” his mother Vicki Bowden told 7NEWS.
The retailer has pulled the product from shelves as WA Consumer Protection investigates the “Halloween-related incident”
The supplier and the retailer of these items will be interviewed as part of the investigation, Consumer Protection acting executive director Penny Lipscombe said.
“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,” 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.”
Alongside the investigation into the gunpowder refills, a “general warning” has been issued to the public about hidden Halloween dangers.
“There are risks associated with many other Halloween products of which consumers need to be aware before 31 October,” the department said.
Lipscombe detailed the dangers that toys commonly enjoyed on the spooky holiday can pose.
“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,” she 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.
“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.”
It’s not just the toys that can be dangerous - the warning also extended to include some elements of Halloween costumes.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
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