On December 1st, Anne Main, the MP for St Albans, secured a 10 minute rule motion to bring in a bill to make provision for standards of fire resistance, and relevant labeling requirements, in relation to children’s fancy dress and play costumes.
In her speech to parliament, Ms Main outlined some of the concerns put forward by CFOA and others about the fact that fancy dress outfits are currently treated as toys, rather than as clothing. She quoted CFOA Past President Paul Fuller, who is leading our campaign on this matter, as saying that;
“Dressing up clothes are not always worn just for play but appear to be increasingly worn as nightwear or normal clothes. The use of naked flames is more prevalent, particularly candles at events such as Diwali, Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, barbecues etc.”
She also quoted the British Retail Consortium, which stated that;
“We believe that the flammability test EN71-2 is no longer fit for purpose. Since this test was introduced in 1979, the design of dress up outfits has got more complicated as has their popularity. The test has not kept pace with the outfit designs and no longer effectively assesses all the risks.”
She argued that fancy dress should instead be required to have the same fire resistance as children’s nightwear, and proposed that the UK use a statutory instrument to “gold plate” the regulations, requiring a higher standard than under EU law.
CFOA is fully supportive of Ms Main’s efforts to change the law and will work with her and others to encourage the government to make children children’s fancy dress safer. In June 2015, CFOA coordinated a letter signed by every CFO in the UK, which was sent to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to encourage them to change the regulations, and continue to push them to go further than the spot testing that has already been announced.