Fire Risk concerns with children’s Halloween costumes

Fire Risk Concerns with children's Halloween costumesWith Halloween approaching on Saturday 31 October, parents and children are starting to plan their parties and buy their costumes.

But the potential dangers of children’s Halloween fancy dress costumes hit the headlines last year when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burned.

 

Only last month ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ co-host Claudia Winkleman praised a government move to introduce spot-checks on halloween costumes to see if they meet safety standards. Details of the new measures emerged almost a year after Miss Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter Matilda suffered severe burns when the Halloween outfit she was wearing caught fire from a candle.

Children could be at risk after safety tests on kids’ Halloween outfits found they all caught fire within seconds. Parenting group Channel Mum conducted tests on trick-or-treat costumes from seven leading retailers. All the outfits passed a ‘brush test’ past a candle, but when they were held above an open flame all went up within six seconds.

Government investigate fire safety of children’s fancy dress costumes

The government has ordered Trading Standards to carry out spot checks on costumes to see if they meet safety standards. But fancy dress outfits are classed as toys to be played with rather than worn – so only have to be tested for lower flammability than say pyjamas or nightwear. So is enough being done and can you be sure that your childrens costume is safe?

Children could be at risk after safety tests on kids’ Halloween outfits found they all caught fire within seconds. Parenting group Channel Mum conducted tests on trick-or-treat costumes from seven leading retailers. All the outfits passed a ‘brush test’ past a candle, but when they were held above an open flame all went up within six seconds.

The Channel Mum investigation also found:

 

  • 25% Of parents wrongly think regulations have been tightened up
  • 52% Of parents will swap tealights for LED lights this year
  • 21 Children were admitted to hospital as a result of costumes igniting or melting
  • 1 in 7 Parents know a child who has been burned while wearing a Halloween costume

Sales of fancy dress costumes for children have soared in recent years, prompted by cheap imports being available and children increasingly wanting to dress as their favourite characters from blockbuster films. Halloween outfits have become more popular in the UKowing to the influence of American films and sitcoms. Supermarkets report that 31 October accounts for significantly more consumer spending than Bonfire night.

Tips for a safe and trouble free Halloween

Lanterns and candles

 

  • Think carefully about the fire risks – particularly the possibility of the candle falling over – if making homemade lanterns. Flickering LED candles are safer than real candles.
  • Never allow small children to carry lanterns lit by naked flames. The handle could become hot and the child could slip.
  • Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other plastic containers.
  • Make sure that candles are securely placed in a correct holder away from draughts, and placed where they are not likely to be knocked over.
  • Never let children play near candles.
  • Ensure that the candles are extinguished completely at night.

 

Costumes

  • Make sure that Halloween costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant.
  • Don’t use flammable materials to make home-made costumes.
  • Keep children away from naked flames at all times.

 

Lighting

  • If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that the electricity sockets are not overloaded.
  • Decorative lights should be switched off at the mains last thing at night, or if the bulbs need changing

The meaning of Halloween

Fire Risk concerns with children’s Halloween costumes
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