Norfolk’s Fire and Rescue team and Trading Standards service highlight the risks of children’s fancy dress clothing in the run up to Halloween.
Following the high profile case involving Claudia Winkelman’s daughter who suffered serious burns after her Halloween costume caught alight in 2014, calls are being made to improve the safety of children’s and adults fancy dress clothing. The recent Fire commission update report includes strong proposals for fancy dress costumes to be reclassified
Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the enhanced fire safety requirements that apply to children’s nightclothes. Rather than introduce new legislation, the Chief Fire Officer Association is calling for this classification to be changed, so fancy dress costumes are subject to the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.
Roy Harold Chief Fire Officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue service comments: “Fire safety for toys is based on the ability of children to drop a burning teddy bear or doll or to run away from a burning play tent or wigwam. You can’t drop a burning costume or run away from it.
“People do not realise just how quickly a child’s costume will catch fire and the fire spread. The design of costumes, with flowing robes, capes or petticoats means they could easily catch fire from a candle or flame and swiftly engulf a child in flames”.
He continues “we would urge caution during the Halloween period particularly where children are getting dressed up. They should keep a safe distance from any naked flames or people might like to consider using LED lights inside pumpkins as an alternative”
Norfolk County Council’s Community Safety and Fair Trades Manager Brian Chatten comments – “We strongly support the proposals to reclassify fancy dress costumes and welcome changes in this area. In the meantime we would urge parents and carers to check costumes have the CE mark and to read the safety information before letting their children get dressed up
Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards Team are offering the following “SAFE” advice to stay safe this Halloween:
- See that the costume fits properly to avoid trips and falls
- Always check costumes for a CE mark, instructions and safety information
- Flames should be kept away from the child and costume, or use LED lights
- Ensure any masks or hoods don’t stop the child from seeing, or breathing