Retailers to make Halloween costumes safer

The British Retail Consortium and its members have introduced new voluntary codes of practice to further enhance the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes, ahead of Halloween.

The UK trade body for the retail industry, said that the accident involving Claudia Winkleman’s daughter in 2014, who was left with severe burns after her Halloween costume caught fire, has led them to introduce new tests that exceed the current testing standard.

The new more “robust” flammability test means that fancy dress costumes have to pass a more stringent requirement of a maximum burn rate of 10mm a minute, compared to 30mm a minute previously, an improvement of 300 percent.

David Bolton, head of product safety at the British Retail Consortium, said: “We have led the way in developing guidance and tools to help all companies, not just our members, test products to a standard above current regulations to give their customers the reassurances they rightly demand. First introduced in 2016, we continue to review and refine it to ensure it is robust and add to a company’s own due diligence process. We have also been working with BSI [the British Standards Institution] to encourage Europe to adopt our standard.

“Whilst this is a valuable tool for all companies, we are still recommending that the UK government and EU authorities revisit the legislation to ensure all products on the market are effectively regulated to reflect the hazards presented by today’s style of costumes, including the fabrics and finishes used.”

The new test standard for flammability has been endorsed by RoSPA, The National Fire Chiefs Council, Bedfordshire and Luton Fire, and Rescue Service and the Children’s Burns Trust.

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