The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are reminding people getting ready to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night to take care and action to avoid burn injuries.

NFCC are urging parents to make sure they are not using candles or naked flames when youngsters are wearing dressing up costumes. They also ask people to use LED candles and discourage youngsters from wearing fancy dress clothing on Bonfire Night while bonfires and fireworks, including sparklers, are alight.

Dressing up costumes are currently classed as toys under British Toy Safety Regulations, and are less fire resistant than children’s nightclothes.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) introduced more stringent flammability tests and labelling in 2017 for these costumes. Many reputable high street retailers and children’s costume manufacturers in the UK signed up to this more robust voluntary code.

NFCC commented: “Although instances of these costumes catching fire are rare, when they do take place the injuries sustained can be catastrophic”

NFCC’s top tips for safer costumes include:

  • Look at the labels – Labels attached to the product should show a CE Mark which means it complies with EN71-2. Also look for labels which indicate the costume has undergone BRC’s additional tests. “This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability” which is reassurance the costume is safer than legally required under EN71;
  • Buy from a reputable retailer – cheap or imported costumes may not meet UK safety standards and at worst may carry fake safety labelling;
  • Layer up– Wear clothes under dressing up costumes, this means there is a layer of protection between the costume and your skin which can help protect the skin in the event of a fire incident; and
  • Stop, Drop and Roll– Ahead of Halloween and Bonfire Night, make sure your children know what to do if their clothes catch fire, make sure they understand to stop and not to try and run, drop and cover face with hands, roll a few times to put out the flames.

And remember, sparklers can injure just the same as fireworks. They burn at over 1,000oC and stay hot enough to cause burns even after the sparks have extinguished

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