Halloween has become a really big thing here in recent years – it seems to have replaced Bonfire Night as the most popular autumn celebration for children. But last year the dangers it poses became headline news when Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burnt when her Halloween costume caught fire after it brushed a candle in a pumpkin.
So there has been considerable publicity this year to try to prevent similar tragedies happening. Fancy dress costumes are not subject to the same fire retardant rules as children’s clothing as they are classed as toys. Some suppliers have voluntarily agreed to upgrade theirs to these higher safety standards, but there are still many out there which are highly flammable.
The fire and rescue services have been issuing lots of advice to parents, including this checklist:
- Check the labels on any fancy dress outfits you buy and see what fire resistance they offer.
- If in doubt, check with the customer services department or the store manager.
- Do not let you child near any ignition sources – sparklers can burn at up to 2000 degrees Celsius.
- Replace candles in pumpkins with battery-powered candles: these are cheap, they do not blow out and they are much safer.
- Teach your child to STOP, DROP AND ROLL in the event that their clothing does catch fire.
- In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
Another bit of advice we’ve seen is to ensure children wear ordinary clothes under their fancy dress, which puts a barrier between the fancy dress and the skin.
So we hope your family has a great – and safe – Halloween.