Fancy dress fire warning from Kerr

Hawick MP Calum Kerr
Hawick MP Calum Kerr
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Borders MP Calum Kerr is campaigning to raise awareness of the potential fire risks of children’s fancy dress costumes at Halloween this weekend.

His call came after he went along to a Parliamentary event which highlighted some of the serious injuries which can occur.

Along with his Westminster colleagues, Mr Kerr was shocked to hear about TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter, Matilda, who was seriously burned wearing a flammable witches’ outfit while trick or treating last year.

The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP said: “As a father of three myself I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period, which is why I was concerned to learn about this horrific incident.”

Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests.

Retail giants Sainsbury and other supermarkets have introduced more stringent testing following a campaign by Claudia, the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The cross-party parliamentary awareness event was designed to encourage MPs to highlight the risks in their respective constituencies.

Mr Kerr continued: “The event was very informative and I want people in the Borders to know about the dangers of some of these fancy dress outfits when their kids go out trick or treating this weekend.

“Of course clothing will never be completely fire retardant, so the other thing which I am encouraging parents to do is use LED tea lights. Using battery operated candles takes away a lot of the risk associated with events like Halloween.”

John Carolan, head of non-food buying at Sainsbury, said, “The safety of youngsters is our top priority, and this event in parliament was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of testing children’s dress-up clothing to the most rigorous standards available.

We’ve gone over and above what the law requires. We welcome the calls to make the legal requirements even tougher, as this will help safeguard our children.”

Mr Kerr’s fellow MP Graham Evans, who represents the Weaver Vale constituency in Cheshire and organised the Westminster briefing, added: “The key thing now is to spread the message far and wide to parents about having a safe Halloween.

“I hope that my awareness event has helped to do that.”