Association News

Fire Chiefs Warn of Continuing Fancy Dress Risk

Fire Chiefs Warn of Continuing Fancy Dress Risk

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is warning people about the dangers of children’s fancy dress clothing as Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night approaches.

CFOA has been campaigning for changes to the regulations surrounding fancy dress clothing after BBC Watchdog[1] highlighted the fire risk posed by these items in May 2015.

CFOA is calling for children’s fancy dress clothing’s classification to be changed to meet the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.  As yet no changes have been made to the legislation regarding the safety of these items despite previous publicity highlighting the potential dangers if these costumes are touched by a naked flame. Fancy dress costumes are still classified as toys.

CFOA would like to see:

  • Reclassification of children’s dressing up outfits as clothes and not as toys
  • Raised awareness of the dangers of dressing up clothes, especially around specific events such as Halloween and bonfire night
  • Advice for suppliers and manufacturers in how the materials are constructed. For instance, a dress is more likely than trousers to come into contact with a naked flame, therefore needs increased fire resistance
  • Better labelling of fancy dress clothing

The fire safety rules for toys are based on a person’s ability to drop or move away from a toy which is burning. This is not possible when you are wearing a fancy dress costume and because the fire regulations are not as strict as those for children’s nightclothes the rate and spread of fire when these items catch light can be rapid.

CFOA will be writing to the government and asking for improvements to regulations.

Lewis Ramsay[2], CFOA Director of Prevention and Protection commented

 “CFOA appreciates the efforts some retailers have made by applying stricter measures to their costumes, but to ensure consistency and for the ease of the consumer CFOA would like the government to act upon our recommendations.”

Fancy dress costumes are becoming increasing popular and their use is not restricted to dressing up at Hallowe’en – these costumes are a staple of most children’s toy boxes.

CFOA ask that people be aware of the risks of these costumes and follow the following safety advice:

  • Avoid the use of candles – LED candles with the correct kite mark should be used
  • If you have to use candles – such as on a birthdays cakes – remove any fancy dress head coverings or wigs
  • Make sure you and your children know to ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ in the event of their clothes catching fire