Children's Halloween costumes can "quickly go up in flames" even if touched briefly by a naked flame, a fire service has warned.
Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service say the costumes should be "treated as high risk" because their designs, often featuring capes and petticoats, mean they can easily catch fire and "engulf a child in flames."
They are advising adults to only buy Halloween costumes from reputable retailers and always check the label.
Clothing will always burn if exposed to a naked flame, but some materials catch fire much faster than others.
Here are some of Devon & Somerset Fire's safety tips:
- Avoid using a candle in pumpkins - use a torch, glow-stick or battery operated candle.
- If a costume does catch fire, use the 'Stop, Drop and Roll' technique to try and extinguish the flames.
- Choose a costume and mask that doesn't restrict a child's visibility.
- Wear clothing underneath the costume - preferably a woollen jumper, woollen tights or jeans.
- Avoid capes, trains and dangling sleeves.
They are urging parents to buy costumes that meet European Toy and British nightwear flammability safety standards.
If making a costume at home, they advise:
- Use polyester, nylon, wool and acrylic fabrics.
- Make sure the costumes are not loose-fitting.
- Avoid materials using natural fibres, like cotton wool balls.
- Don't use bin liners as capes or dresses.