Fire service welcomes investigation


Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has welcomed a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes.

Earlier this year the council joined fire services across the country to warn parents of the fire risks posed to children by the outfits.

The warning came after the Chief Fire Officers Association showed BBC’s Watchdog how quickly some children’s costumes burn if touched by fire.

The issue was highlighted in an interview with presenter Claudia Winkleman, whose daughter was burned in October last year when her Hallowe’en fancy dress costume caught fire.

Trading Standards inspectors will carry out spot checks on hundreds of retailers selling fancy dress costumes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The costumes will be subjected to flammability testing to assess whether they are safe for sale and compliant with safety standards.

Alex Bennett, Chief Fire Officer for NFRS, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the outcome of the investigation and changes made to increase children’s safety. It is worth reminding people that care must always be taken when wearing fancy dress, regardless of any changes to safety standards.

“As we approach Hallowe’en, parents must remember that if their children are going to wear these costumes they need to ensure that there are no naked flames around and they take extra care, especially if there are lit candles present.”

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council with responsibility for NFRS, added: “We welcome this sampling project but it is important we still get the message out there to residents about the potential danger of these items.”