Halloween costumes and candles warning for parents as fire chiefs issue shocking photos of outfits going up in flames
Fire chiefs have warned parents to think twice about the potential dangers of Halloween costumes which can go up in flames ‘in a matter of seconds’.
Officers at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are urging parents to take extra measures to keep their family safe at Halloween by using electric candles instead of naked flames and to avoid flammable outfits.
Dressing up in scary costumes is popular with many youngsters at this time of year, but startling pictures taken at TWFRS Headquarters showing what can happen when Halloween costumes catch alight show how easily extensive damage can be caused.
Station Manager Jonathan Ramanayake, from the Prevention and Education Department at TWFRS, said many costumes are still classed as toys – meaning they’re not subject to the same fire safety checks as everyday clothing.
He said: "For many families, Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, with an opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. We don't want to put a downer on those plans but we do want to make sure that children and adults alike can enjoy it as safely as possible.
"The big tip we have is to use LED candles wherever possible. Naked flames can be dangerous at the best of times but they can be a real hazard in the excitement of Halloween.
"Halloween costumes do undergo fire safety tests and we work with retailers to ensure they're as safe as possible. Labelling is also clearer than ever before. But at the end of the day, many costumes are actually classed as toys and so do not have to meet the same fire safety requirements as clothing.
"The materials can be flammable and there have been examples across the country of children being severely burned when costumes have caught fire.
"We are not suggesting children can’t wear a costume, but just avoid exposing them to a flame and use electric candles wherever possible to safeguard your family. If you're trick or treating in the dark, then please also make sure you stay on footpaths and remain highly visible to motorists travelling through the area."
Parents are advised that, if the worst does happen and a costume catches fire, a child should ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ until the flames are out.