Smiffys Costumes and Child Safety
We take safety very seriously and invest heavily to ensure the integrity and safety of all our products. We go above and beyond the required safety standards for children’s costumes. In 2015 alone, we invested over £1,000,000 in our safety testing and procedures.
Regulation of Children's Costumes
Children’s costumes are regulated and must comply with EN71. This is a European standard which tests for flammability, choking and strangulation hazards, and toxicity. This strict criteria does not apply to everyday children’s clothing (with the exception of some nightwear).
- Children’s clothing can catch fire and burn when exposed to fire and naked flames and some manufacturers only voluntarily add "keep away from fire" warnings.
- Children’s costumes must comply with EN71 Toy Directive. This is a Europe-wide standard which tests for Small Parts / Sharp edges (Choking & Strangulation prevention) Flammability and Toxicity.
- The flammability testing for EN71 measures the ‘rate of flame spread’ on fabric & complete costumes and how quickly the flame self-extinguishes.
Suppliers can voluntarily test children’s costumes to Nightwear (Safety) Standards, and Smiffys does this as an additional measure to EN71.
See FAQs for more information.
Smiffys approach: Going above and beyond
Our dedicated in-house team ensure that all of our children’s costumes (and certain accessories) are manufactured and rigorously tested to comply with both EN71 regulations and Nightwear (Safety) Standards. This ensures the absolute highest safety standards and reassurance that all children’s costumes are as safe and fit for purpose.
We take pride that all Smiffys children’s costumes are:
- Labelled "Warning. Keep away from fire" irrespective of the burn rate within the EN71 regulatory limit
- Labelled with the CE mark as a declaration that the product meets the European Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EC), and has undergone a variety of product tests to ensure that it is safe for use
- Tested to Nightwear (Safety) Standards as an additional safety measure
- Subject to further safety checks through spot-checks and batch tests (surveillance and due-diligence testing) once the products are received in the UK warehouse to guarantee quality and safety assurance
In addition, every production run is batch tested and verified as compliant at source and our safety certificates are continually updated.
Click here to view which standards our costumes have been tested to. You can search the PDF by product name or SKU using Ctrl + F.
What to look for in Children's costumes
Other manufacturers may not be as vigilant about safety and may not be willing to invest in safety procedures and testing standards.
Safety checks: What to look out for
- The packaging, or any accompanying leaflet, should contain specific parental or flammability warnings, safety symbols and instructions for use, etc
- Costumes should be permanently labelled with the CE mark and relevant fire warnings
- Check the CE marking hasn’t been faked – check the correct logo has been used, particularly the middle line of the E as it should be shorter
- The label or packaging should contain the manufacturers name, address, postcode or phone number and a registered trademark
Don't be deceived by cheap, counterfeit products, online or in-store. These items will not have undergone safety checks or stand up to the safety standards Smiffys employs as a responsible manufacturer. Not only are counterfeit costumes poor quality, but also potentially unsafe. Selling counterfeit goods is illegal and usually funds criminal activities.
We invest time and money removing counterfeit products and work closely with online marketplaces to remove infringing product listings and fake replicas. We take legal action where we identify illegal sellers copying our 'branded' designs and products. This is significantly reducing the amount of cheap alternative unbranded products that are sold using official RH Smith & Sons images which you may feel you have to compete with.
As a family run business we understand the needs of parents to feel confident in the costume they choose for their children. We pride ourselves in going above and beyond the safety regulation requirements to provide a costume that we can both feel confident putting our children in for Halloween and any dress up occasion.
1 What are the legal obligations for testing fancy dress costumes? Fancy dress costumes are categorised as toys and therefore must comply with the European Toy Safety Directive EN71 parts 1, 2 and 3. This means that in the UK, all costumes Age 14 and under, must meet strict criteria with regards to testing and labelling.
Costumes are tested to make sure that they do not pose a choking or strangulation risk. They are also tested to additional flammability tests over and above EN71. Plus individual fabrics and components are tested for toxicity, to make sure we manufacture a safe and fit for purpose costume.
2 What does the flammability test involve? A specific flame is applied to both fabric and samples as a complete costume, to test the rate of flame-spread and any self-extinguishing properties - in other words, how quickly the fabric burns in (s)/mm and how quickly the flame goes out by itself, if ignited and self-extinguished.
The rate of spread of flame of the test sample should not exceed 30 mm/or the test sample shall self-extinguish. If the rate of spread of flame is between 10 mm/s and 30 mm/s, the appropriate part(s) of the toy and the packaging shall be permanently marked with the following warning: “Warning. Keep away from fire”
3 What steps are taken to ensure the legal safety standards are met on all Smiffys costumes? Working in partnership with our preferred global Test House - Intertek, Smiffys follow a strict due diligence process to ensure that all our products are rigorously tested before they reach the market. Every product line is batch tested at production stage and on arrival in to the UK. Then additional spot checks are performed as a surveillance measure, to ensure that the highest safety standards are maintained.
4 What should I look for on the label? Smiffys products carry a CE mark to show that they comply with the legal standards set out in EN71. Smiffys costumes are also labelled with a ‘Warning – Keep Away From Fire’.
5 What are the legal safety-testing requirements for Nightwear? In the UK and Europe, nightdresses, pyjamas, dressing gowns, bath robes and similar garments must comply with the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations standards BS5722. Smiffys are applying this test method to all our Children’s Costumes for Age 14 and under, as an additional flammability measure.
6 What does the Nightwear (Safety) Standards flammability test involve? Six pieces of the same garment, including threads, trimmings and decorations (prints/components) are tested. All samples must be washed/conditioned prior to testing. The garment is hung in a vertical frame and a flame is applied to the bottom two inches for ten seconds. The time it takes for the flame to spread to a “trip thread” must not exceed 25s/300mm and subsequently 50s/600mm.
7 What are the main differences between EN71 and the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations? EN71 has a broader remit and requires that testing criteria on a wider range of safety issues is adhered to, for example small parts / heavy metal content of the fabric. In many respects, the testing process for EN71 is more rigorous and further criteria must be met in order to comply. It is possible for a garment to comply with the Nightwear Regulations if the fabric melts or chars when set alight, which may be more dangerous to a child than an EN71-compliant, self-extinguishing fabric.
8 What does Smiffys new safety policy on all new lines in the 2016 collection mean for consumers? From January 2016, all Smiffys children’s costumes are tested to meet BOTH EN71 & Nightwear standards, in order to ensure the absolute highest safety standards and provide reassurance that all children’s costumes are as safe and fit for purpose.
Building on the strict safety testing standards already in place, Intertek will continue to test Smiffys costumes to EN71 standards and additional Nightwear (Safety) Regulations standards testing has been introduced at source.
For statements and information relating to regulatory and legislative frameworks and guidance please click on the relevant link.
1 The European Online Dispute Resolution platform http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/ provides information about alternative dispute resolution.
2 Modern Slavery Statement: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Act (2005)
3 We are delighted to be working with the Lincolnshire Trading Standards on the Primary Authority pilot scheme recognising how seriously we take safety. For more information, click here, and our certificate can be viewed here