Warning for parents to check safety of children’s Halloween costumes

Parents and carers are being advised to let their children be ‘scary but safe’ with the Halloween costumes they wear this year.

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Experts say costumes should only be bought from reputable sources, particularly when buying online, and that consumers should check that the product bears a CE mark.

The message comes as West Sussex Trading Standards and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are about to test another selection of cheap children’s outfits to check they comply with the law and do not catch fire easily and spread too rapidly when set alight.

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David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for public protection, said: “Halloween is a fantastic festival which is great fun for both children and adults.

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“But the message to everyone must be clear. Be scary, but don’t let the evening end in horror.”

Last year Trading Standards officers bought a number of cheap Halloween costumes online and from shops throughout West Sussex.

With the help of the county’s fire and rescue service they set fire to the costumes to test if they were safe.

Some were sent for formal testing at a laboratory and one costume was found to allow flames to spread too rapidly when set alight.

This was later traced to a faulty batch that had been produced in China and was then recalled by the importer.

Mr Barling added: “Careful shopping is only one element of staying safe. Keeping the costumes away from naked flames is the only sure way to prevent a tragic incident.”

Trading Standards will be testing another selection of children’s Halloween costumes in the same way this year.

Peter Aston, Trading Standards team manager, said: “The results of testing will not be known until nearer the end of October but we do expect the safety of these items to have significantly improved. If not we will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action.”

If residents find any children’s costumes that do not have a CE mark, they can let Trading Standards know by using the online reporting form at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

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