Lewes MP calls for safer children’s Halloween costumes

Maria Caulfield meets with Sainsbury's to discuss safety tests for children's costumes
Maria Caulfield meets with Sainsbury's to discuss safety tests for children's costumes

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield is calling for rigorous safety tests for children’s fancy dress costumes, following a meeting in Parliament.

The event, which was supported by Ms Caulfied, saw Sainsbury's talk about the work they and other supermarkets have done to introduce more stringent tests to children's costumes in recent years.

Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests.

Speaking after the event, the Lewes MP said: “I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period and this is why I am so keen to raise awareness of the dangers of open flames and fancy dress.

“I’m delighted that last year funding was made available for Trading Standards to conduct spot checks on hundreds of retailers to ensure that costumes meet safety standards. I also applaud Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets for introducing more stringent safety checks and would now call on others to follow suit.

“Ultimately, we need to work to close this loophole so that all manufacturers have to comply with much more stringent safety tests and I will lobby to do this. However, with Halloween just around the corner, the key thing now is to spread the message far and wide to parents about these dangers, and I hope that my awareness event will help to do that.”

The tests were introduced following a campaign by the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Claudia Winkleman, whose eight-year-old daughter Mathilda, was seriously burned wearing a witches’ outfit in 2014. .

Colin Bradford, of Sainsbury’s, said: “Many retailers are working extremely hard to address this issue. Today’s event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety at Halloween and share our own approach, which has led to the introduction of a more stringent approach to product development and flammability testing that exceeds all current legal requirements.”

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