Children’s dressing-up clothes fire dangers
Sainsbury’s (UK supermarket and 7th biggest clothes retailer) has announced that as of Halloween 2015 all children’s dressing-up outfits will be tested to the British nightwear flammability standard, a demanding clothes fire safety performance already available. Furthermore, in 2016 the company will introduce its own even more rigorous standards. This follows the interview of TV star Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman on BBC’s Watchdog programme, after her daughter suffered serious burns when her Halloween witch costume brushed against a candle.
Tesco, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, John Lewis, Aldi, BHS, Morrisons and Mothercare are cited by the UK Chief Fire Officers’ Association as also planning such action.
The BBC, with Bedford Fire Service, tested the flammability of three supermarket purchased costumes, putting them in contact with a small tea-light. One burned slowly, but “enough to do significant damage to child’s skin”. The other two (made of polyester and polyester+polypropylene) burned fast and violently, one with flames to the torso after just two minutes, the other engulfed in flames after only 20 seconds. The fire service: “Terrifying, should not be on sale”.
Yet, as the BBC underline, these costumes are legally on sale with a CE safety mark, because they have passed EN71 test, the fire safety requirement for “toys”. For the BBC, this test is not safe for clothes. Interviewed expert on textile flammability, Richard Horrocks, Bolton University, underlines that a suitable test exists, the British nightwear flammability standard (BS5722, Test 3), which is “proven to have reduced both fatal and non-fatal casualties”. Sainsbury’s refers to this expert statement and suggests that the British nightwear flammability standard should be applied across the EU under toy safety regulation.
Sainsbury’s Non-Food Director stated “The safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do.”
Sainsbury’s: “Sainsbury’s to introduce enhanced safety standard for Children’s Dress-Up” http://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/media/latest-stories/2015/0522-sainsburys-to-introduce-enhanced-safety-standard-for-childrens-dress-up/
BBC Watchdog, May 2015 (series 35, episode 8) http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32723504