Children’s fancy dress costumes tested to lower standard than pyjamas

The BBC Watchdog programme reported that children's fancy dress costumes are tested to a lower safety standard than children's pyjamas

Supermarkets have no plans to remove fancy dress costumes which are only tested as toys and not garments



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18 May 2015

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Supermarkets have no plans to remove potentially dangerous children’s fancy dress costumes from their shelves, following a report by BBC consumer programme Watchdog, which revealed such garments can easily catch fire and are tested to a lower standard than nightwear.

The Watchdog programme reported that due to a legal loophole, fancy dress costumes are classed as toys to be played with instead of worn. In order to be deemed legal, children’s pyjamas or nightwear must take three times longer to catch fire.

TV presenter Claudia Winkleman spoke out on the  programme about how her daughter Maltilda, eight, was engulfed in flames last Halloween after her supermarket-bought witch’s costume brushed against a candle.

The Daily Mirror reported that last year, 21 children in the UK were taken to hospital as a result of their clothing either igniting or melting.

The newspaper asked the UK’s ‘big four’, namely Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons if they would be asking their suppliers to carry out more rigorous testing of fancy dress costumes. It also asked if they would stop selling fancy dress costumes which are currently only tested as toys and if they would remove stock from their shelves.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We comply with all current legislation and work with our suppliers to use the most appropriate materials.”

Sainsbury’s said: “We take the safety of our customers extremely seriously and our fancy dress products comply with EU safety rules.”

Asda responded: “The wellbeing of our customers is and always will be our number one priority and when it comes to children’s products we take safety extremely seriously.

“While all of our products meet the current industry standards, we are always looking at ways of improving our own testing methods. We recognise children’s dress-up costumes are no longer occasional wear and George has already taken steps to introduce an additional test that goes over and above current requirements to ensure that they are fit for everyday use.

It reassured customers that it “will continue to ensure our products are tested to the highest standards and that we remain committed to keeping our customers safe”.

Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket Morrisons declined to comment and referred the newspaper to the British Retail Consortium.

The Chief Fire Officers Association is calling for children’s fancy dress clothing to meet the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes and for greater research into the labelling of adult clothing.



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