Warning Over Flammable Children's Halloween Costumes

31 October 2016, 08:36 | Updated: 31 October 2016, 08:42

Fire crews in Hampshire and Dorset are urging parents not to take unnecessary risks with candles and costumes on Halloween.

They suggest using LED candles instead of real flames in Jack O'Lanterns.

There are also concerns over cheap costumes that are highly flammable - after TV presenter Claudia Winkleman's daughter was badly burned two years ago.

Firefighters are also asking parents to check that any costumes they buy comply with fire safety regulations by checking the garment's label before purchasing.

Cheaper outfits sold online or from less well known brands, are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they catch fire.

Children's costumes have to meet a safety standard that states that if they catch fire, the flames must not spread faster than 30mm per second. This is to ensure there is time to remove the costume or extinguish the flames before a child is seriously injured.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's, Area Manager for Community Safety, Stew Adamson said: 

"Halloween isn't celebrated by all, but those who do participate we aren't trying to spoil your fun.

"We just ask that parents keep their children well away from naked flames and ask that when picking a costume it is fit for purpose.

"Instead of using candles to decorate a pumpkin, especially as a way to greet trick or treaters outside your home, you could opt for battery powered LED tea lights. These are much safer and reduce the risk of burns, which can last a lifetime."

If you were to have an accident and you or your child's clothes caught fire remember to stop, drop and roll until the fire is out. In an emergency cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Group Manager Karen Adams said: 

"We don't want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire. Please also follow the advice from our police and council colleagues and don't frighten and annoy residents by being anti-social."

The service says the following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:
- If you're making homemade lanterns, think carefully about the fire risks - particularly the possibility of the candle falling over. It is far safer to use flickering LED candles than real candles in pumpkins and as part of displays.
- Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other plastic containers.
- Make sure that fancy dress costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant.
- Don't use flammable materials to make home-made costumes. Be especially careful about using bin liners as capes.
- Keep children away from naked flames and don't let them carry lit candles or lanterns with candles in them.
- If you use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, cushions and draughts.
- Make sure candles are extinguished when you go to bed.
- If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they're switched off at the socket at night.