Fire safety probe into children's fancy dress

24 September 2015

Halloween We've written about the dangerous fancy dress outfits that are being sold to children before, and there's been a campaign from TV presenter Claudia Winkleman. Winkleman saw her daughter's costume going up in flames, and she suffered serious burns.

As it is nearly Halloween, there's going to be a lot of children dressing up for the occasion, and now, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said Trading Standards officers across Britain will be doing flammability tests at hundreds of shops in the lead-up to Halloween this year.

They will also look at the regulations governing the sale of these highly flammable outfits, to see if there should be stricter rules in place.

Retailers have previously vowed to try and clamp down on cheap imports, which are increasingly prevalent as time goes on.

Winkleman said: "We're extremely happy the government are taking action on this and we're so grateful to the supermarkets who are selling safer costumes." Business Secretary Sajid Javid added: "My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe. It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards."

"That's why I've granted funding to Trading Standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards."


Check the label - Labels on costumes should say that they're flame resistant. Obviously, it doesn't make the outfit safe from flames, but it does mean it'll be safer if it does catch on fire.

Some are more flammable than the rest - Different fabrics react differently to fire, so the most likely to combust are cotton, linen, jute, and acetate. Synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon tend to melt rather than go up in flames, and are more likely to self-extinguish.

Avoid glitter, sparkle and netting - a lot of costumes come with netting details, glittery bits and lots of sparkly things. Sequins are fine, but costumes that have sprayed-on glitter are much more flammable, thanks to the adhesive used with the glitter.

Avoid capes and flowing sleeves - Children can be a bit clumsy and not mindful of their clothes trailing near naked flames from Halloween ornaments. Any clothing accessories, such as wings, hoods and what have you, should be short and easily removed in case of an emergency. Also, capes and scarves can be a choking hazard, so keep an eye on them.

TOPICS:   Consumer Advice   How To Guides

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