When Claudia Winkleman’s 8-year-old daughter Matilda was badly burned after her witch’s dress went up in flames, it made us all think about how safe the fancy dress clothes we buy for our kids are.
And it probably came as a huge shock – not to mention worry – to most of us to learn that many outfits did not meet any safety standards at all because Matilda wasn’t an isolated case. Last year, 94 people in England were admitted to hospital as a result of their clothing either melting or catching alight. Twenty one of those were children under 18.
Well fortunately things are now changing and Trading Standards are to launch an investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes, with all retailers – whether shops or online sellers – facing spot checks to test the clothes’ flammability and safety levels.
Speaking to the BBC, the government’s Business Secretary Sajid Javid who announced the funding for the spot checks,said : “My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe.
“It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards.” He added that parents need to be able to ‘feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standard’.
Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s have also confirmed that their fancy dress outfits for children would now meet the equivalent of the higher fire safety standards required for youngsters’ nightwear.
Claudia Winkleman said she was ‘extremely happy’ that the investigation was happening, and pleased that ‘the government are taking action on this’. She added that she was ‘so grateful to the supermarkets who are selling safer costumes’.
Trading Standards officials will report their findings later in the autumn.