WITH Halloween a matter of days away, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding parents to protect their children from flammable fancy dress costumes.

The issue was highlighted when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burned, when her Halloween fancy dress costume caught fire in 2014.

Firefighters are encouraging people to consider alternatives to candles such as placing battery LED candles in pumpkins, which won’t blow out and are much safer.

They also ask parents to check that any costumes they buy comply with safety regulations by checking the garment’s label before purchasing.

Cheaper outfits sold online or from lesser-known brands, are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they catch fire.

Children’s costumes have to meet a safety standard that states that if they catch fire, the flames must not spread faster than 30mm per second.

This is to ensure there is time to remove the costume or extinguish the flames before serious injury.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s, crew manager for community safety, Alex Snook said: “Those who do enjoy celebrating Halloween we aren’t trying to spoil your fun.

“We just ask that parents keep their children well away from naked flames and ask that when picking a costume, it is fit for purpose.

“Instead of using candles to decorate a pumpkin, especially to greet trick or treaters outside your home, you could opt for battery powered LED tea lights. These are much safer and reduce the risk of burns, which can last a lifetime.”

If you were to have an accident and you or your child’s clothes caught fire remember to stop, drop and roll until the fire is out.

In an emergency cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.

For more information on how to keep safe: hantsfire.gov.uk/halloween.