A Child On Fire, and What Sainsburys Did Next (and a huge hoorah for Claudia Winkleman)

This week I received a press release from Sainsburys, about their 2015 Halloween Dressing Up range – so far so ordinary.

But then one particular paragraph caught my eye:

“This autumn Sainsbury’s will be offering a host of creepy character costumes for every member of the family (even the dog!) and is making Halloween safer for shoppers as all dress up products now meet the British Nightwear Flammability Standard, which is the highest level of testing in existence.”

claudia winkelman on fire safetyAnyone who had followed Claudia Winkleman’s terrible story of her daughter’s witch costume being set alight while she Trick-or-Treated (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-32731967) will know immediately why that paragraph is such a big deal.

A HUGE deal.

And a fabulously brilliant triumph for Claudia – and for every single one of us parents who didn’t realise that dressing up clothes are classed as toys, and therefore not subject to the rigorous safety  laws that children’s clothing is.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this episode of Watchdog. I’ve been a parent for 16 years, and I’ve often been woken in the night by cowboys, power rangers or a fairy, because my children have ALL opted to sleep in their fancy dress outfits at some point or another. HOW can dressing up clothes be classed as toys for safety reasons?

It’s just a terrible shame it took such a traumatic injury to a child before anything was done.

I was so thrilled that I instantly tweeted about it, and started writing this post. But when I looked at the costumes on Sainsburys’ site, I was suddenly a bit dubious – there’s nothing on the site talking about the issue. And all the costumes still state ‘100% Polyester’, and ‘flammable’. Were they old stock? Leftovers from last year, and still only tested to toy standards? How would a customer know?claudia-winkelman-littlestuff-twitter

So before I hit publish, I got in touch with Sainsburys to clarify – here’s what they said, and are happy for me to repeat:

“Absolutely, this is our new 2015 range on the website… This range has passed an upgraded level of testing whereby all our dress up is now tested to the to both the European Toy (EN71) and the British nightwear flammability (BS5722 test 3) safety standard, which is  the toughest safety standards that exist for dress-up. We include four fire safety warnings on all of our dress up, above and beyond the legal requirement, as all materials, both natural and synthetic are flammable. In fact in some cases, natural fibres are even more flammable than thermoplastic fibres such as polyester and nylon.”

kids zombie witch costume

Kids Eerie Zombie Witch Costume (3-12 years) – reduced to £8.25

Obviously it goes without saying (only I’ll say it anyway) that care should always be taken with young excited children and naked flames. There’s a massive range of LED fake candles and lights that you can opt for instead.

But this? This is Excellent News. Well done Sainsburys.

I don’t know if all the other supermarkets have followed in Sainsburys footsteps, but just in case may I STRONGLY urge you to buy your Halloween costumes from Sainsburys this year…

And thank you Claudia Winkelman for making this happen.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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  1. Great news! Thanks for sharing the info. I was going to say I’d better get to Sainsbury’s before they sell out but I’m slightly confused if this only applies to online purchases or whether it includes in-store purchases too. I’ll have to check before rushing off. Thanks for highlighting this….

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    • Hi Gem
      No – it’s every single costume they stock; that’s why I double-checked with Sainsburys themselves, just to be sure. So go buy – your child is definitely in safe costumes if they’re from Sainsburys :)

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks Laura. I tweeted Sainsbury’s and they confirmed it to me as well. Good news ?? Gem xx

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  2. I remember reading about what happened to her little girl awful! Well done sainsburys

    Post a Reply
    • The story was so very shocking, wasn’t it? I think because we could all relate, and see it happening so easily to any of our children. Thank goodness retailers have acted fast – and not just for Halloween, but every costume (though I should think Halloween is the biggest risk for kids being near naked flames).

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