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Cary child gets burned in Halloween costume

Posted October 25, 2011

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— For children, Halloween is supposed to be about trick-or-treating and just having fun. But last Halloween, Dylan Hicks, 11, of Cary, ended up having surgery at the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill because of a problem with his costume.

Dylan was wearing a costume that featured a battery-powered inflatable bull. He said he felt a stinging on his leg soon after he started trick-or-treating. 

"It felt like a bee sting a little bit.. But it only looked red when I looked at it, so I didn't think it was anything big," Dylan said. 

By the time he got home, Dylan had a large black circle on his leg. 

His mother, Kelly Hicks, found that the battery pack was leaking.

"You have to put the batteries somewhere. So, he put them in his pocket. For whatever reason, somehow, someway, battery acid leaked out onto his leg," she said. 

Dylan had third-degree burns. 

Dylan's mother took him to the doctor, who sent them to the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center. Dylan stayed there a week and underwent a skin graft.

For the past year, Dylan has had to apply cream four times a day and wear a compression wrap.

"The donor site should heal up completely, but the burn area, obviously, he's going to have a scar forever," Hicks said. 

Hicks feels inflatable costumes should be redesigned so that the battery pack is on the outside.

David McIntyre, a spokesman for Gemmy Industries, which made the costume, said the company "did not manufacture the batteries that failed, nor supply the batteries."

halloween costume burn Cary child burned in Halloween costume

McIntyre said the instructions state that the battery pack "should be clipped to the outside of pants or a belt loop" and not in a pocket. He said the company is not aware of any other problems with battery packs. 

Gemmy continues to look at how all of its products "can be improved," McIntyre said. 

Hicks is sharing the story with others to prevent a similar injury. 

"I would have never thought that costumes could have done this, ever. So I just want other people to know," she said. 

Dylan agrees, saying that he doesn't want to get anymore costumes with batteries. 

This year, he is wearing a bright orange Morphsuit made of spandex.

11 Comments

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  • hkymom Oct 27, 2011

    I am not assuming anything as I know the facts. By the way, they were brand new Duracell batteries, installed correctly, with a 2016 expiration date. We do not know if it was the batteries or the battery pack that had the problem. Bottom line is it should not have happened whether the battery pack was attached to a belt loop or a pocket - battery acid leaked out of the battery pack and the kid got burned - severely. If you don't want to take caution DON"T. Why can't you people just take this as a warning and not turn it into something it isn't!?!

  • scot30 Oct 27, 2011

    "You are assuming directions really came with this costume - maybe they did not? How are you so sure it was the batteries and couldn't be something with the battery pack?" - hkymom

    I have an inflatable costume for Halloween this year, although not the same one this boy wore. Mine did come with instructions, and they do very clearly state to clip the battery pack to the outside of clothing (such as to a belt loop, outisde of pocket, etc). The battery pack uses standard AA batteries, which are not included with the costume. The batteries have to be supplied by the person using the costume. There is no way anything harmful could leak out of the pack without batteries in it...so it had to be the batteries that the parent (or child) selected to use that leaked. Maybe the batteries were defective, maybe they were old, maybe they put in a mix of old/new or alkaline/"standard" batteries...who knows.

  • grimreaper Oct 27, 2011

    "Another Solution- Don't dress up your kids in costumes at all and celebrate this silly made up holiday." --robertcoles

    What is wrong with a little tradition...people like you rotting this great country from within...

  • sunshine1040 Oct 26, 2011

    I hope that this year peaents and 7 yr ord can read the word warning on the custome made be they should be entered in kindegarden at athe age of 1 instead of 4
    i am really sorry this happened to a child of any age burns are not fun

  • robertcoles Oct 26, 2011

    Another Solution- Don't dress up your kids in costumes at all and celebrate this silly made up holiday.

  • beaconoflight32 Oct 26, 2011

    thinkb4speak: I agree totally with you!

  • thinkb4speak Oct 26, 2011

    Wow - we have a bunch of people with bad attitudes today. I am sure that everyone here can say that they read their instruction manuals from cover to cover for every item they purchased right?! All she is trying to do is to tell other people to use caution. I can say that I probably would have thought that the batter pack in the pocket would be OK. I have never had batteries leak before so it wouldn't have occured to me. I'm glad that she told her story so that some other kid may not have to go through the same thing.

  • my2bits Oct 26, 2011

    What is the point of this article? It happened last year. Now we should fear dressing in costumes? You want the gov't to step in and ban battery powered costumes? This has no relevance. The mom didnt read the instructions. So what? people mess up all the time. Is it news worthy? No. There is the fear mongering newspaper at it again. Find something else to report on. This is tiresome.

  • wilsmoku Oct 26, 2011

    well if U READ IT ,instructions state that the battery pack "should be clipped to the outside of pants or a belt loop" and not in a pocket. HMMMMMMMMM

  • hkymom Oct 26, 2011

    Hint #1: read the instructions before use. That would have solved a lot of pain and anxiety for this family. The batteries leaked, which was not a fault with the costume itself, but the manufacturer of the batteries..
    Squirreling Dervish a go go
    October 25, 2011 6:46 p.m.
    You are assuming directions really came with this costume - maybe they did not? How are you so sure it was the batteries and couldn't be something with the battery pack?

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