UK – New Voluntary Codes of Practice Developed for Flammability and Labelling of Children’s Toy Dress-up and Disguise Costumes
Vol. 890 | January 22, 2016
As the result of an incident in 2014 where a child’s Halloween costume caught fire resulting in burns to the child, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has developed a Code of Practice detailing a test method based on a modification of EN 71-2, in conjunction with retailers, test laboratories and experts in flammability testing.
While the available evidence indicates that the number of such incidents is very low, and enquiries to other EU member states have not revealed any significant concern, it was felt in the UK that a more stringent approach was prudent until a formal review of EN 71-2 is carried out by CEN later this year.
Alongside the modified method of testing the flammability a second Code of Practice details enhanced labelling requirements.
Although EN 71-2 remains the harmonised toy standard and provides a presumption of conformity to the essential safety requirements of the toy directive 2009/48/EC, it is expected that most major UK retailers will follow and apply the BRC Codes of Practice.
Significant differences between the BRC Codes and EN 71-2:
- Testing is carried out in both length and width for certain materials depending on their location on the costume, e.g., below the waist or in sleeves
- Seamed edges and trim may be included in test sample
- Smaller sample sizes can be tested
- Tests are carried out in duplicate
- Fabrics that do not ignite are re-tested with the addition of a square of cotton fabric attached to the sample
- Narrow samples are tested using a mesh support
- Maximum rate of spread of flame is 10mm/s as opposed to 30 mm/s in EN 71-2
- Fillings, whether foam and non-foam, are subject to separate requirements
- Previously tested fabrics with rate of spread >10 mm/s can be assumed to fail the BRC method and so require no re-testing
- Previously tested fabrics with rate of spread <10 mm/s may be assumed to comply with the BRC method depending on fabric and location on the costume
- Flame retardant chemicals are not permitted
- Each part of the costume (e.g., cape, trousers, shirt) shall carry the permanent, durable warning “WARNING ! KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE” in red upper case letters of 10 point
- In addition to the above warning, the packaging shall also carry a warning to keep the costume away from lit candles and naked flames
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