The BRC and its members have introduced two voluntary Codes of Practice which exceed the current testing standard, to further enhance the safety of children’s dress-up costumes.
The terrible accident involving Claudia Winkleman’s daughter in 2014 and the subsequent media coverage focussed attention on what were seen as failings to the existing Toy Safety Standard for the flammability of children’s dress-up costumes. Against this backdrop, the BRC and its members agreed the need for a more robust flammability test and worked together with UK laboratories to develop one that could be adopted quickly and ensure that products sold were safer.
The resulting BRC test standard for flammability, 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/second – an improvement of 300 per cent over the existing 30mm/second standard. This is just one of the many stricter requirements introduced in the last 12 months.
David Bolton, Head of Product Safety at the BRC said:
“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. 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.”
Paul M Fuller CBE QFSM, Chief Fire Officer, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said:
“We fully endorse the two Codes of Practice developed by the BRC and its members, which go further than the mandatory regulations in putting children’s welfare and safety first. Retailers have considered the potential risk and vulnerability of children and rightly made the voluntary decision to go beyond the current testing standard to ensure the dress-up products they sell are safer.”
Ken Dunn BSc FRCS (Lond) FRCS (plast) FRCS (ed), Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeon. Medical Trustee, Children’s Burns Trust said:
“The number of incidents of burns involving clothing, for example a child’s fancy-dress costume, is thankfully relatively low – but when it does happen it is catastrophic. We continue to support the work of the Government and the BSI (British Standard Institute) in increasing the flammability standards of children’s clothes in particular and are grateful to the British Retail Consortium for the developments in their Code of Practice.”
The two BRC voluntary Codes of Practice are:
Method of Test for the Flammability Safety of Children’s Dress-Up
Additional Flammability Labelling of Children’s Dress-Up
Dress-up clothes are defined in European Law (Toy Safety Directive) as a “Toy”. As such, there are a suite of standards (EN 71) that are used whereby compliance with the standard can be used to demonstrate that a toy is safe. For dress-up flammability, this standard is called “EN71-2”.