Alex Chalk MP has called for tougher fire safety standards for children’s fancy dress costumes.
Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests. Some retailers, including leading supermarkets, have introduced more stringent testing following a campaign by the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Claudia Winkleman. Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter Mathilda was seriously burned wearing a witches’ outfit while trick or treating. But there is no legal requirement to do so.
Speaking after the event, Alex commented:
‘I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period, but the reality is that open flames can present a major hazard.
The safety tests for children’s clothes are simply not fit for purpose. That’s why I’m campaigning for the law to be strengthened, so that parents and carers can be confident that their children are safe.
‘I applaud those retailers who go beyond what is required and introduce more stringent safety check. But it shouldn’t be a matter of choice. It should be a legal requirement.
Colin Bradford, Head of Non-Food Technical and Ethical Practices at Sainsbury’s, said:
“Many retailers are working extremely hard to address this issue. Today’s event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety at Halloween and share our own approach, which has led to the introduction of a more stringent approach to product development and flammability testing that exceeds all current legal requirements.”