Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Safety Standards for Children's Fancy Dress Costumes

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is joining colleagues nationwide in calling for improved safety standards for children’s fancy dress costumes.

The call comes as BBC One’s watchdog programme prepares to broadcast a report on the risks posed by children’s fancy dress costumes which can burn quickly and fiercely if they come into contact with a naked flame.

Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the same safety regulations. There is no requirement for them to be fire proofed or fire retardant.

ECFRS are joining calls from the Chief Fire Officer’s Association for this classification to be changed so that fancy dress costumes are subject to the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “It is terrifying how quickly some of these costumes catch light. Many of them have flowing robes or capes which could easily come into contact with a candle, particularly at a birthday party, which could turn into a fireball in seconds.

“Parents need to realise that these clothes pose a significant risk and if their children are going to wear them they need to ensure that there are no naked flames around and that they take extra care especially if there are candles lit, as there would be at birthday and Halloween parties, or there is a barbecue.

“If someone’s clothes do catch fire then our best advice is to stop, drop and roll. That means immediately stop moving, drop to the floor and roll around until all flames are extinguished. Then call for an ambulance immediately.”

An item will be aired on watchdog at 8pm this evening highlighting the potential dangers around fancy dress costumes and the lack of safety regulation around them.

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