LONDON, 2015-10-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Over the past few months you may have seen news reports about the standards of safety in children’s Halloween costumes. Under current regulations, fancy dress is only required to be tested to the same standard as European toys. However, at Sainsbury’s, we don’t feel that that’s enough and as such from this Halloween all children’s dress up sold in our stores will be tested to the British nightwear flammability standard – the toughest standard that currently exists.
Additionally, from 2016, we will be introducing our own more rigorous safety standard for all children’s fancy dress outfits. For the past year we have been working with an independent laboratory of industry experts to develop our own safety standard which is designed to test the performance of our dress up outfits – i.e. recreating the test conditions most similar to how we would imagine a child to wear fancy dress. This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing a higher, tougher standard of testing is the right thing to do.
Our new standard of testing will include flammability testing up to the British nightwear flammability standard – which means testing the whole outfit for safety rather than the individual materials as well as all the materials used on the garment in the testing. We will also be testing garments before they’re washed rather than after, to create a more realistic home situation. Sainsbury’s technologists have also looked at a number of factors to reduce the flammability of a specific garment including any detail and embellishment around the hemlines as well as how combinations of materials react together. We’ve also been looking at the type of fabrics and materials used in dress up and whether some burn more easily than others – for example, there is an assumption that natural fabrics burn less quickly that man-made materials but this isn’t necessarily the case.
All clothing carries some fire risk, but we hope that introducing our own rigorous testing standards that treats and tests dress up clothes as clothes and not toys will be the first step towards safer testing across the industry.
James Brown, Sainsbury’s Director of Non Food.