Keep your Children Safe in their Fancy Dress Costume

It's no secret that children love to dress up. Whatever the weather, whatever the occasion, give your children a fancy dress costume to wear and they'll have it on until you have to forcibly remove it at bedtime.

But how safe are your Childtrens costumes? And how do you know you are buying from a trusted retailer? Today we explore ‘How to keep your children safe in their fancy dress costume'.

When we buy from a major store, we naturally expect product quality and customer safety to be an integral part of the product testing before it goes on general sale. Sadly, however, that isn't always the case.

We all read the horror story last year of Claudia Winkelman's daughter's extremely unfortunate experience with a fancy dress costume, bought from a well-known retailer, and despite supermarkets and other retailers unquestionable efforts to improve safety standards. We thought It was important to provide you with a quick and easy to read guide to help you understand how to ‘Keep your Children Safe in their Fancy Dress costume'.

General Safety Information and Requirments

If you are concerned about the safety and quality of your costume, your costumes packaging, or accompanying safety leaflets should contain the following warnings, safety symbols and instructions for use.

Passed EN71 Safety regulations

The first, and by far the most important thing any parent should do when buying a kids fancy dress costume is to ensure that the outfit is clearly labelled with all of the correct safety information. These are encompassed under the EN71 regulation which tests for flammability, choking and strangulation hazards, as well as toxicity. Costumes must pass EN71 Parts 1, 2 & 3.

How do I know it has met these stringent standards?

All fancy dress costumes that have successfully passed the EN71 regulations will be labelled with the distinctive CE mark as a declaration that the product meets the European Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EC), and has undergone a variety of product tests to ensure that it is safe for use

Additional Labelling

It's no secret that children's costumes (and all clothes in general) are made with flammable materials. Therefore you need to ensure that all items are labelled "Warning. Keep away from fire" irrespective of the burn rate within the EN71 regulatory limit. This is not only a legal requirement but shows that the manufacturer realises a potential fire risk associated with their product.

Extra Testing

As an additional safety measure, several companies, including well-known brands such as Smiffys Fancy Dress, subject their costumes to further safety standards. Ensuring they also comply with Nightwear Safety Standards (BS5722) aimed at nightdresses, pyjamas, dressing gowns and bath robes. Despite not being a legal requirement for fancy dress costumes, this is done by many companies to ensure an extra level of scrutiny on their products, and to give customers greater confidence during purchase. It is therefore greatly advised you also look for this label whilst purchasing an outfit.

Further Safety Information

On top of the legal testing, and labelling requirements, there are also several other things to look out for, or be aware of when you are purchasing a fancy dress costume for your child.

Buy from respected stores

It may seem like a no brainer, but all too often we see parents getting fooled by fakes in their hunt for a cheap costume. You must ensure that you are buying from a respected retailer, either online or in person, also being careful on sites such as eBay and Amazon, where fakes can all too easily pop up and be indistinguishable from their real counterparts – in this case, do further research into store owners and so forth.

No sharp costume accessories and opt for soft materials

Despite our best efforts at outfit safety, all our hard work can be instantly undone with an inappropriate accessory that can totally transform our child's costume into a walking safety hazard. Make sure all accessories are made of soft, bendable materials that are difficult to break. Staying away from items such as plastic swords that may splinter, buttons, beads and other items that may present a choking hazard.

Can see, breathe clearly

Obvious? Sadly not! Every year we see Kids Halloween costumes where the child can barely keep an oversized mask on their head, let alone see or breath out of it! Just remember, character quality is a second to safety, so why not try face paints instead of masks?

We hope this list will help you in the purchase of your next fancy dress costume and give you greater confidence when purchasing an outfit either online or in-store. Don't forget, if you see anything you don't think complies with the correct regulations, or you believe is fake or counterfeit, don't hesitate to get in touch with the relevant authorities to report it.

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