The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has introduced two voluntary codes of practice guidelines to help retailers enhance the safety of children’s Halloween costumes.
The initiative follows the accident involving BBC presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter in 2014 which left her with severe burns.
The BRC said the incident and media coverage it provokes – and continues to provoke – had led the organisation and its retail members to develop a robust flammability test.
The test standard for flammability that this resulted in – which was endorsed by RoSPA, The National Fire Chiefs Council, Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service and the Children’s Burns Trust – has since been reinforced with the more stringent requirement of a maximum burn rate of 10mm/minute.
This is a 300 per cent improvement over the existing 30mm/minute standard.
The BRC said this was one of many stricter requirements introduced in the past year.
“We have led the way in developing guidance and tools to help all companies, not just our members, test products to a standard above current regulations to give their customers the reassurances they rightly demand,” BRC head of product safety David Bolton said.
“First introduced in 2016, we continue to review and refine it to ensure it is robust and add to a company’s own due diligence process. We have also been working with BSI to encourage Europe to adopt our standard.
“Whilst this is a valuable tool for all companies, we are still recommending that the UK government and EU authorities revisit the legislation to ensure all products on the market are effectively regulated to reflect the hazards presented by today’s style of costumes, including the fabrics and finishes used.”