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Halloween clothing warning

21 October 2016

​In the build-up to Halloween, Trading Standards and Jersey’s Fire and Rescue Service are reminding parents to

  • check Halloween costumes for the CE mark
  • avoid naked flames by replacing candles with LED equivalents
  • follow the ‘stop, drop and roll’ rule if costumes or clothing catches fire
  • always follow instructions and safety information

The safety of children’s costumes, in particular Halloween costumes, was highlighted in 2014 when television presenter Claudia Winkleman’s 8-year-old daughter was severely burned after her witch costume caught fire. She had been close to or in contact with a lit candle inside a pumpkin.

Fancy dress costumes should comply with toy safety standards. This means that the rate at which they burn has to be within an acceptable range, and where applicable, relevant warnings are present, to minimise the risk.

In September 2015 a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes showed that of 309 costumes tested, 80% passed.

47 costumes failed: 10 of these were technical failures due to the absence of warnings; 37 were due to the rate of spread and therefore unacceptable failures.

Trading Standards throughout the UK have been working with suppliers to improve the compliance rate.

The investigation also showed that cost of the outfit had no real bearing on how safe they were. Cheaper costumes did not result in more failures.

There was also little difference in the failure rate when sampling costumes purchased through UK local or national retailers.

A number of national retailers now voluntarily ensure their costumes meet higher standards contained within the Children’s Nightwear standard.

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