Children’s fancy dress outfits will have to meet stricter fire saftey rules thanks to Claudia Winkleman’s campaign calling for tougher standards, after her 8-year-old daughter’s Halloween witch outfit caught fire.
Sainsbury’s were the first supermarket to make the announcement, stating that their kids’ costumes will face the same standards as their nightwear. Tesco and Asda are also carrying out stricter tests, and Marks and Spencer will be doing the same on all future lines.
The move follows Claudia’s calls for tougher fire safety regulations on kids’ costumes after her daughter, Matilda, went up like a ‘fireball’ on Halloween last year, when her cheap witch’s costume caught fire at a neighbour’s house.
The mum of three described the incident on October 31 as, ‘like those horrific birthday candles that you blow out and then they come back… It was really fast, it wasn’t fire like I’d seen.’
Speaking about the victory, Claudia said: ‘I love Sainsbury’s for it. Others are doing it too. I had to do something.’
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: ‘We have looked at every detail of our children’s dress-up range in creating our new standard and believe that it will be industry-leading.
‘This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do.
‘All clothing carries some fire risk, but we hope that introducing our own rigorous testing standards that test clothes as clothes rather than as toys will be the first step towards safer testing across the industry.’
The Chief Fire Officers Association also praised the move by the supermarket, saying: ‘We are pleased to hear that Sainsbury’s and some other retailers are taking steps to improve the safety of these products.
‘We will be working with Government to ensure that the standards for all children’s clothing are appropriate and keep our children safer.’
Appearing on BBC One’s Watchdog programme last month, Claudia said: ‘I was talking to somebody and then I just heard her scream. She just screamed, “Mummy” and I turned round and that was that, she was just on fire.
‘She went up, is the only way I know how to describe it… It was a spark and she screamed out for me. We couldn’t put her out. Her tights had melted into her skin’
‘It was really fast, it wasn’t fire like I’d seen’
Matilda, whose costume had a long cape, caught alight when her outfit brushed up against a candle while out trick or treating with her mother and friends.
The eight year old was pushed to the floor and rolled in an attempt to put out the flames which had englufed her costume, which Claudia had purchased from her local supermarket for ‘five quid.’
Claudia and film producer husband Kris married in 2000 and have three children together.
‘Everyone was screaming. She was screaming, all the kids there were screaming,’ said Claudia.
The 43 year old continued, saying that although the fire was put out in a matter of seconds, it felt ‘like she was on fire for hours.’
Matilda’s accident saw Claudia take a break from her presenting duties on Strictly Come Dancing for three weeks while her daughter recovered. Presenter of spin-off show It Takes Two, Zoe Ball, stood in for the star.
Asked about the severity of her little girl’s injuries now, Claudia answered, ‘It’s life-changing but not life defining.
‘It was definitely life-changing for me. I can’t remember life before it.’
Claudia’s daughter Matilda starred in the film, I Give It A Year, with Jason Flemyng and Minnie Driver.
Zoya Bacolv, a seven-year-old friend of Matilda’s, said at the time of the accident, ‘I saw her when the ambulance came, they had to wrap her up to put out the fire.
‘She burnt her leg. They put her in a cast thing and put lots of plasters on her leg. She’s going to be in hospital for a week. It was really scary.’
Claudia and her husband Kris Thykier released a statement shortly after the incident saying:
‘Our daughter was involved in an accident on Friday night while celebrating Halloween. She is having the best care possible and we are hopeful of a full recovery.
‘We would like to thank everyone that has been so supportive and particularly the NHS doctors, nurses and staff who have been absolutely incredible.
‘We would like to take this opportunity to remind anyone taking part in fireworks parties or Guy Fawkes celebrations to be vigilant about the dangers of candles, open fires and fireworks and to be please have the appropriate safety measures in place and to hand.’
Claudia and Kris have three children together, Jake, 10, Matilda, 8, and Arthur, 3.
Watchdog, which airs tonight at 8pm, have tested several high street-bought kids’ costumes for flammability on the show, off the back of Claudia’s daughter’s terrifying ordeal. The results are said to be ‘shocking’.
Claudia added, ‘I would like parents to, just on Halloween, think about what they’re going to put their kids in because I didn’t, and it cost us.’