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Stay Safe This Halloween

Posted on 30th October 2015

Ghosts, goblins and ghouls are not the only things we should be afraid of on Halloween. With the popularity of this holiday on the rise so too are the number of accidents around this time of year.

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter Matilda suffered serious burns in a Halloween costume fire in 2014. Speaking to the BBC earlier this year she described the moment Matilda’s £5 witches costume brushed against a candle “She went up, is the only way I know how to describe it. It was not like fire I had seen before”. “Her tights had melted into her skin”.

A legal loophole classifies fancy dress costumes as toys, meaning they are not subject to the higher standard of testing that clothing such as pyjamas and nightwear are. In 2014 Ninety-four people were admitted to hospitals in England with injuries arising from igniting or melting clothing. Twenty-one of these admissions were children under the age of 18.

Earlier this year The Chief Fire Officers Association (COFA) called on retailers to take more responsibility “We’d like supermarkets to take a lead and apply the same standards to these fancy dress costumes as they do by law to children’s pyjamas and nightwear”.

Thanks to a campaign by BBC Watchdog and the COFA  many retailers have agreed to review and change their policy, with Argos going as far as to not stock Halloween costumes for children this year. In addition Trading Standards have now agreed to intervene. They will carry out spot checks on retailers and the hope is that the outcome of their findings will lead to Halloween costumes being classed as clothing rather than toys.

Here are some other tips to ensure your child’s safety this Halloween

  • Ensure the costume your purchase is flame retardant. Further guidance is available here 
  • Ensure children are accompanied by an adult when out trick or treating
  • Watch carefully when crossing roads and use crossings when possible
  • Motorists be wary that the number of children on the roads on this day almost doubles, keep your speed low especially in residential areas
  • Keep your child visible by applying reflective tape to their clothing/costumes

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