fancy dress 180The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has welcomed retailer Sainsbury’s announcement that from Halloween 2015 it will be testing all children’s dress-up outfits to the British nightwear flammability standard.

The supermarket has further announced that it will introduce tests that are more rigorous than the British nightwear flammability safety standard during 2016.

This move follows the campaign launched by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, backed by CFOA and FIRE, to change the fire safety regulations on children’s dress-up clothes.

Currently the clothes only have to be tested to the same standards as toys which, as Beds' Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller recently highlighted, is based on the ability of children to drop a burning teddy bear or doll, or to run away from a burning play tent or wigwam.

CFOA President, Peter Dartford, said: “We are pleased to hear that Sainsbury’s and some other retailers are taking steps to improve the safety of these products. I would call on all retailers to follow their example. We will be working with Government to ensure the standards for all children’s clothing are appropriate and keep our children safer.”

On the Watchdog programme, 14 retailers were asked what future steps they would be taking on the issue of children’s fancy dress costumes and fire safety. Tesco and Asda also advised that they would be applying more rigorous flammability testing to all costumes that they sell, while Marks and Spencer said that this would happen with all future lines that they stock. Waitrose, John Lewis and Aldi, BHS, Morrisons, Mothercare say they are investigating ways to do the same.

No further information was given on the programme regarding the position of retailers Hamleys, ToysRUs, Lidl and Argos at the time.