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Fire crews' Halloween warning

Fire crews' Halloween warning

Published at 8:38am 26th October 2015. (Updated at 3:20pm 26th October 2015)

In the run-up to Halloween, firefighters in Yorkshire are urging parents to make sure their children stay safe.

It comes as hundreds of retailers face spot checks to test the flammability of their fancy dress costumes.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is backing a UK-wide investigation by Trading Standards into the safety of costumes, following last year's high-profile campaign by Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Her daughter suffered serious burns when her Halloween costume caught fire.

The investigation means that hundreds of retailers will face spot checks to test flammability of costumes and an assessment is taking place to see whether European safety standards are tough enough.

In addition, the Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA) has called for fancy dress outfits to be reclassified as clothes and not toys, and to bring them in line with regulations covering night clothes.

CFOA also wants to work with suppliers on the construction of materials, better labelling and more publicity on the dangers of dressing up clothes, especially around Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Dave Walton, West Yorkshire's Assistant Chief Officer, said: "We don't want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want everyone to celebrate safely.

"The prominent media coverage which followed the incident involving the daughter of Claudia Winkleman serves as a salient reminder that Halloween horror can come from something designed to be fun.

"It just takes a little care and forethought to prevent these tragic and unintended outcomes."

In North Yorkshire, Trading Standards officers have also been testing Halloween fancy dress clothing.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: "I'm pleased that items tested in North Yorkshire have been found to pass safety tests.

"However, those tests look at the rate at which items burn, so even clothing that passes the most stringent of tests will still catch fire if it comes into contact with a naked flame.

"I'd recommend that any parent, or other adult who is looking after children at Halloween, follows Trading Standards advice to ensure everyone has fun but stays safe."