Safety checks for fancy dress gear

Paul Daniels, manager at Paul Daniels Magic Party Shop, Mesnes Street
Paul Daniels, manager at Paul Daniels Magic Party Shop, Mesnes Street

WIGAN’S fancy dress shops will be put under the spotlight as part of an investigation to ensure children’s fancy dress costumes are safe, after a TV presenter’s daughter was burnt when her dress caught fire.

Following Claudia Winkleman’s nightmare when her eight-year-old daughter was severely burnt when a Halloween costume was engulfed in flames, Trading Standards officials are to carry out spot checks on costumes for sale across the UK.

There has also been calls for an assessment of whether European safety standards are tough enough.

Costumes from hundreds of fancy dress retailers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be tested for flammability to assess whether they are safe for sale and compliant with safety standards.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe.

“It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards.

“That’s why I’ve granted funding to trading standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards.”

Trading Standards officials will report back later in the autumn.

Wigan stockists are now preparing for the spot checks.

Paul Daniels junior, owner of Paul Daniels Magic Party Shop, in Mesnes Street, Wigan, insists all outfits he sells are manufactured by trusted brands Smiffys and Bristol Novelty Ltd, which carry out stringent tests to safeguard against any potential hazards.

He said: “We only stock Smiffys or Bristol Novelty Ltd and they do extra stringent checks on, These are not cheap £3 outfits - the cheapest we sell is £10 and they don’t go ‘whoosh’ and engulf in flames like the cheaper ones. All costumes have the warning on the label to keep away from fire, which is the same for all clothing.

“We are all for these investigations.

“If we sell a costume and it suddenly sets on fire after being near a flame it will come back on us. We strive to ensure all our products are safe.”

A spokesman for Wigan Council’s trading standards said it is keen to fulfil its role in ensuring fancy dress outfits are safe by working in partnership with other agencies.

Julie Middlehurst, group manager for regulation at Wigan Council, said: “We will be liaising with regional and national trading standards colleagues to determine the most effective way to utilise the funding available for this really important piece of work.”