There has been a lot of coverage in the news over the past few days of the potential fire risk posed by children’s Halloween costumes. The awful incident involving Claudia Winkleman’s daughter, who received burns after her costume caught fire two years ago after it came into contact with a naked flame, is often mentioned as an example of how things can go wrong.
Newspapers, magazines and TV news outlets have been taking CE-marked kids’ costumes from the racks of major retailers and setting them alight to find out how quickly they burn.
The coverage has helped to raise awareness of the potential dangers, and we hope that parents will now be more aware when dressing their little ones up and taking them out trick or treating.
However in terms of highlighting the real risks involved in this issue, I do not think the experiments carried out by the media have been particularly helpful. Most of the news outlets have noted that the costumes, in the majority of cases, are deemed to be “toys” and therefore tested to CE standards, whereas there is a more stringent standard in place for nightwear.
What must be remembered is that clothing material is not 100 per cent fire proof –clothes will burn if they come into contact with a naked flame. The CE standards ensure that the burn rate is slower, giving parents more time to put out a fire or get the clothes off a child, but will not protect against them catching fire in the first place.
The message we really want parents to take home is the danger of naked flames. Children should be kept away from naked flames to prevent their costumes from catching fire. You might want to use flameless, battery-operated candles in your pumpkins, and we’d definitely recommend that you accompany your children on their trick or treat outing.
We are pleased to see some retailers have been testing their costumes to the nightwear standards, but there really is no substitute for avoiding naked flames.
Ashley Martin, public health project manager
Posted: 10/21/2016 2:43:33 PM