Parents are being urged to ensure they are shopping with responsible retailers in the run-up to Halloween.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has been working with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its members to develop a new testing standard for the flammability of children’s dress-up costumes, which goes beyond the current legal level.
Following laboratory tests, a new stringent, voluntary standard has been created that costumes should have a burn rate of 10mm per minute – 300 per cent slower than the current 30mm per minute standard.
Companies that test their costumes to this new standard will be allowed to print ‘This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability’ on their labelling.
RoSPA has advised that Halloween costumes are kept away from naked flames, and that children are supervised by an adult when trick or treating.
Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: ‘Accidents involving children’s Halloween costumes can happen very quickly – they only need to come briefly into contact with a candle or other naked flame for disaster to strike.
‘The potentially-horrific injuries can leave lifelong scars, and not just physical ones. The distress felt by a child and their family and friends in an incident like this is immeasurable.
‘I’d urge parents to shop with well-known retailers, and double-check all the labelling to ensure that costumes have passed the proper flammability tests.’