South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Fire officers in Halloween fancy dress safety call

Fire safety bosses are calling for people to take care around candles as the Halloween party season hits full swing.

Fancy dress costumes for children are under particular spotlight with no laws currently in place to force businesses to ensure their products are fire resistant.

Costumes are currently classed as toys, so do not have to undergo fire safety testing in the same way as children’s nightwear does.

The issue sparked national interest last year when Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter suffered severe burns at a Halloween party. She was in a witch’s costume when it brushed against a candle and caught fire.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “Unfortunately, accidents like the one which made national headlines last year are not uncommon and this is a shocking reminder that candles and open flames can be lethal if you don’t keep an eye them.

“This is especially true if you are wearing clothing, such as fancy costumes, which often have tassels, capes and other adornments that can trail and easily catch light if they accidentally brush against a flame. That’s why it’s crucial that candles are placed well away from flammable items and clothing otherwise the results can be catastrophic.

“It is not only children in fancy dress who we are concerned about, we also see a number of incidents where vulnerable adults accidentally set their clothing or bedding alight because they are placed too close to candles, cookers or gas heaters.”

The service’s top three candle safety tips are:

1) Keep candles well away from items that could catch fire like fancy dress costumes
2) Place them on a heat resistant surface, like a ceramic plate
3) Always place candles in a fire resistant container and make sure they are out of the reach of children


This content was last updated on October 28th, 2015