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Some children’s Halloween costumes ‘fail to meet fire safety standards’

PUBLISHED: 08:58 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:58 26 October 2018

Screengrab taken from video issued by Which? of tests the consumer group ran to see if children's Halloween costumes met fire safety testing standards. Picture Which?/PA Wire.

Screengrab taken from video issued by Which? of tests the consumer group ran to see if children's Halloween costumes met fire safety testing standards. Picture Which?/PA Wire.

Some children’s Halloween costumes failed to meet fire safety testing standards, an investigation by a consumer group has found.

Screengrab taken from video issued by Which? of tests the consumer group ran to see if children's Halloween costumes met fire safety testing standards. Picture Which?/PA Wire.Screengrab taken from video issued by Which? of tests the consumer group ran to see if children's Halloween costumes met fire safety testing standards. Picture Which?/PA Wire.

Which? tested 20 fancy dress outfits from retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s and Wilko for their flammability and two of them failed to meet British legal requirements, according to Which?.

The group said its investigation found the mask from a werewolf costume at B&M Stores and the strap of a headpiece on a Maleficent costume from eBay both burned too quickly.

Halloween costumes are classified as toys under British regulations, which means they are subject to more stringent testing than other items of clothing.

Which? also tested the outfits against a more robust code of practice by the British Retail Consortium, a voluntary guideline for retailers and manufacturers.

Three costumes failed to meet these requirements - part of the skirt of both a skull witch outfit from B&M and a witch outfit on eBay, and the seam of a Ghostbusters outfit by Rubie’s, stocked on Amazon.

These outfits passed the legal requirements but were reportedly found to be more likely to catch fire and burn at a quicker rate than the outfits that passed both tests.

Ebay, Amazon and B&M have reportedly removed the items that failed the legal fire safety requirements from sale.

An Amazon spokesman said: “Customer safety is our highest priority. Third-party sellers are required to comply with all relevant laws and regulations when listing items for sale on Amazon.

“When sellers don’t comply with our terms, we work quickly to take action on behalf of customers.”

An eBay spokeswoman said customer safety is their “number one priority”, adding: “We work with trading standards to ensure our marketplace remains safe.”

B&M takes product safety “very seriously”, according to a spokeswoman.

She added: “We have been provided with valid test certificates by our supplier.

“However, as a precaution we have now removed the product from sale and are undertaking a product recall.”

Which? is calling for all retailers and manufacturers to abide by the BRC guidelines.

Managing director of home services Alex Neill said: “We were shocked to find Halloween costumes that claimed to pass the legal British safety requirement actually failed our flammability testing.

“While these have now been recalled, we are advising parents to watch out for these costumes being stocked elsewhere.

“Manufacturers and retailers have a moral responsibility to adopt the BRC code as a standard so that parents and families can have more confidence in what they are buying.”

The potential dangers of Halloween costumes shot to public attention after Strictly Come Dancing co-host Claudia Winkleman’s daughter Matilda suffered severe burns when her outfit caught alight in 2014.

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