Press release

Nationwide investigation launched into fire safety of children’s fancy dress

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has requested a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes.

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  • Trading Standards to carry out spot checks on children’s fancy dress costumes for sale across the UK
  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and British Standards Institute assessing whether European safety standards are tough enough
  • news comes ahead of national fire safety campaign

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has today (24 September 2015) requested a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes.

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.

The news comes after TV presenter Claudia Winkleman raised her concerns about the safety of fancy dress costumes when her daughter suffered serious burns when her fancy dress costume caught fire.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe. It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards. That’s why I’ve granted funding to Trading Standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards.

Trading Standards is set to report back to the Business Secretary on its findings later in the autumn.

In a further move, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is working with the British Standards Institute to assess whether European safety standards in this area need to be toughened-up. The findings from the Trading Standards investigation will form an important evidence base for this work.

Leon Livermore, chief executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), said:

In light of the upcoming Halloween season, we welcome the government funding for trading standards to investigate the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes. CTSI takes issues of product safety very seriously, and hopes the evidence gathered as part of this investigation will help to establish whether the current flammability standards are still fit for purpose.

The government is also supporting National Burn Awareness day on 21 October, a national fire safety campaign led by the Children’s Burns Trust, to raise awareness on the dangers of fire.

Notes to editors:

  1. Trading Standards will test the costumes against European Standard EN 71-2 which specifies flammability requirements for toys.
  2. The safety requirements of safety for children’s fancy dress costumes are covered by EU Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys, transposed into UK law by the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.
Published 24 September 2015