Don’t let #Halloween be more frightening than it should be

Halloween is fast approaching and it can be a genuinely scary time for parents as highlighted when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burned in 2014

The eight-year-old daughter of Strictly Come Dancing presenter Winkleman was taken to hospital after being seriously injured when her Halloween costume caught fire.

Now as parents and children start to plan their outfits, the potential dangers of fancy dress costumes should not be underestimated.

The government has ordered spot checks of costumes, and some retailers do carry out extra testing.

But while you don’t want to take the fun out of choosing a spooktacular Halloween costume, it’s important to keep in mind some basic safety tips when buying or making an outfit that’s scary but doesn’t fill parents with fear.

Top 10 tips when buying or making your child’s Halloween costume:

1) Use or choose flame-resistant materials: It may sound like stating the obvious but be honest with yourself, how many times have you checked the label to see if a child’s costume is made from flame resistant materials? Since your child is likely to be near candles, lanterns, and other decorative flames when they go to Halloween parties or out trick-or-treating, this safety is rule number one.

2) Look for a good fit: When it comes to choosing a Halloween costumes, one of the biggest things to avoid is putting your child in something that’s too big or loose. A costume that’s too long can cause the child to trip, can easily snag on objects and other kids and can potentially catch light more easily around open flames, such as candles, which are very commonly used around Halloween. So coose a costume that fits snugly and is the right length.

3) Keep the neck area clear: Try to avoid anything that could pose a strangulation or choking hazard, such as costumes that are too tight round the neck or have cords or sashes that go around the neck. Costume jewellery could also get tangled around the neck.

4) Cut out the capes: Capes on costumes are very common but can pose strangulation risks, and could get caught on something or cause a child to trip.

5) Use masks sensibly: I don’t mean when scaring people, of course that’s the whole point. But if you allow your child to have a mask, make sure they only wear it for photos or when not walking near busy roads. Many masks can obstruct a child’s vision, and could pose a danger, especially when it’s dark at night. Make sure it fits snugly on your child’s face so that it doesn’t slip and has large holes around the eyes. Also check to make sure that they can breathe comfortably while wearing it.

6) Read face paint labels: Face paint is often used at Halloween but do make sure you read labels carefully and choose paint that is FDA-approved and meant for use on skin – remember “non-toxic” doesn’t necessarily means it’s safe for use on the sensitive skin of a child’s face.

7) Think about your accessories: Any Halloween costume accessories such as swords or knives should be flexible and soft which is stating the obvious. But do make sure that anything your child carries, such as a wand or cane, has no sharp edges or points. A good question to ask yourself here is ‘Would they be hurt if they fell on it’?

8) Stay visible: A lot of Halloween costumes use dark colours which are hard to see at night. Why not tape or sew reflective materials onto your child’s costume to make sure that he can be seen in the dark, this can even be incorporated into the design if you are in creative mood. Also consider carrying a torch, which kids love anyway, and most retailers sell battery operated Halloween-themed torches which will be both fun and ensure your child stays seen.

9) Think about safe footwear: Keep in mind that many of the dress-up shoes that come with kids’ costumes are not meant for outdoor use. Make sure shoes fit properly and are not the cheap, plastic kind that have no traction and could cause a child to slip and fall. Why not avoid the themed footwear altogether and just have your child wear their trainers when trick-or-treating outdoors.

10) Use common sense: The most important of all. Just use your parental instincts and ask yourself do you feel comfortable with what they are wearing and know the surroundings where they are going to be and happy haunting.

RIP #charity fundraiser Kirsty Howard dies aged 20

A girl born with a rare heart defect and given just weeks to live at the age of four has died, aged 20. Kirsty Howard attracted world attention when she joined David Beckham in launching the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. Throughout her life, Kirsty, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, raised more than £7.5m for Manchester’s Francis House Children’s Hospice.

She died in hospital early on Saturday with her family beside her. Kirsty was the only British child – and one of only two worldwide – born with a back-to-front heart.

Her fundraising efforts won the support of prime ministers, pop stars and Hollywood actors as she continued to defy medical odds. She also overcame her illness to study childcare at college, intending to pursue a career as a teacher for children with special needs, before she died just a month after her 20th birthday.

She was born in Manchester on 20 September 1995 with an exceptionally rare and inoperable condition that meant her heart was back to front, causing the misplacement of her internal organs. The condition required a constant oxygen supply. Kirsty first met David Beckham in 2001 when she was a mascot for England’s 2002 World Cup qualifier against Greece. She walked out with the team with a 20kg oxygen tank in tow. Alongside Beckham, she handed the baton to the Queen at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

In 2003 Kirsty started the first Great Manchester Run and took part in the race, wearing the number one vest in her wheelchair. She took part in the race every year following. She was awarded the Helen Rollason Award by the BBC in 2004 for her courage and determination and has also received the Child of Courage award and the Pride of Britain award.

Kirsty was the face of the charity appeal for Francis House Hospice, originally opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1991. The Kirsty Club was launched to expand and improve the service, with celebrity supporters of the appeal including Gloria Hunniford, Mohamed Al-Fayed, Davina McCall and opera singer Russell Watson.

Christmas cabaret night out in aid of @stgileshospice #charity



Glitz Glamour & Sparkle Fashion Show in aid of @firefighters999 #charity at the @TheAgeasBowl



Support @TheRugbyCharity through your love for #curry during #NationalCurryWeek

Rugby Union’s charity – The Injured Players Foundation, look after seriously injured players for life and help prevent future injuries through research and education. The IPF provides support and information to those who sustain a catastrophic injury as a result participating in rugby union, to empower them to lead as full and independent life as they are able to. They also work with all stakeholders to reduce the risk of these and other injuries in the game.

The IPF are there for every seriously injured player, now and forever. From International players, right through to the grass roots game including Schools and Universities across England, also striving to make research breakthroughs to make the game safer for every current and future player who will get to enjoy this great game, as well as improve the care of those injured.

You can find out more and read some personal stories about the work they do in the ‘What We Do‘ section.

There are many ways you can help support and protect the rugby family.
From making a monthly donation, signing up to one of there bike ride or running events, getting your club to support them or even organising your own event. We also have information for companies on how you can make a big difference to our work.

Click and get involved in there charity events

#midlandkarting #halloween spooky #funday



What would you do to help your wheelchair-bound, 4 year old daughter to walk? #SevernSwim

On September 23rd 2015, Kev Brady from Gloucester, will attempt to be the first person in history to swim the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, from its source in Mid Wales, 220 miles to Severn beach. That’s the equivalent of 10 English Channel swims or over 14,000 lengths of a 25m pool. He hopes to complete this challenge within 3 weeks.
The problems he faces are dangerous and many: hypothermic temperature water, fast currents, sharp debris, treacherous undercurrents, parasites, pollution and large boat traffic not to mention the physical toil of swimming over 10 miles per day.
All money raised will go to Superhero Foundation, a charity that Kev co-founded to assist families in need to access otherwise inaccessible treatments for mental or physical illness. There last successful ‘Superhero’ was a father that climbed the local hill in Gloucester 75 times – the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest – to raise money for an operation in the US to help his wheelchair-bound, 4 year old daughter to walk. 
Kev had the following to say,
“In the last year, I’ve supported and continue to support numerous families to fundraise for their children in need. Their parents have undertaken some extraordinary physical challenges and really pushed their limits, it’s been inspiring to witness. However, there are so many families across the UK that need our support as a charity, but we just don’t have the funds to help or take on other families. I’ll be asking for donations throughout this swim and I hope to get as much support as possible.
I’m very excited to see who I’ll meet and what I’ll see along the journey – but I’m also completely petrified of what could possibly happen. I’m not physically ready and I’m not sure if I am mentally either, there’s only one way to find out. I know with my face in the cold, dark water for multiple hours per day, I’m going to mentally go to some very dark places. It’s the support I receive when my face is out of the water that will keep me going.”
Even when his adventure is over, please dig deep and keep giving to this amazing charity, the founder has a huge Heart of Gold
Follow the journey here using the hashtag #SevernSwim:
on Twitter @KevBrady8
Kev Brady - co-founder of the charity Superhero Foundation

Kev Brady – co-founder of the charity Superhero Foundation

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