Children wearing cheap Halloween costumes could easily turn into fireballs, according to an industry expert who is warning parents about the dangers.
Chris Stott, MD of Wessex Fire & Security, wants to highlight the risk following the horrific injuries caused last year to Claudia Winkleman’s child.
The celeb’s daughter Matilda, then aged eight, was wearing a supermarket-bought costume that burst into flames when it came in contact with a naked flame.
The horrific injuries required multiple operations and Chris fears that there is a fatality waiting to happen.
He said: “The cheap, imported costumes are incredibly flammable and with Halloween there are always lots of candles about – it’s a high risk scenario.
“With children being the ones usually dressed up the potential for disaster is high.
“I would urge parents to exercise extreme caution when their children are dressed up this Halloween.
“The burns are horrible and with a child’s skin thinner than an adult’s you need much less exposure to heat to cause more damage.
“The costumes ignite very easily and the number of incidents is increasing every year. It is quite conceivable that there will be a fatality.
“When children are trick-or-treating it just takes one candle on a doorstep to lead to tragedy. I’d urge everyone to take extreme care.”
The most recent figures show that in 2013 there were 82 fire-related injuries around Halloween – a 37 per cent increase on 2012.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said that in 2013, 138 people in England were admitted to hospital after their clothing either ignited or melted.
Chris added: “There are annual warnings each year before bonfire night and still around 1,000 people – mostly children – are injured.
“The last thing we need is for Halloween to become equally dangerous. Ideally Halloween should be a little bit scary – not horrifically frightening.”
Wessex Fire & Security is based in Shaftesbury, north Dorset, and covers the whole of the south.
It is over 30 years old and has amassed a wealth of experience; it is part of the family-owned Wessex Group.