Claudia Winkleman has talked for the first time about her daughter’s Halloween costume catching fire and it should serve as a serious message to all parents whose kids like to dress up — whatever the time of year.
On last night’s Watchdog the Strictly Come Dancing presenter revealed the true horror of the “life-changing” moment.
Eight-year-old Matilda was in a witch’s costume Winkleman had bought from a local supermarket for “five quid” last October, which caught fire when it brushed against a candle at a house in London. Matlida suffered serious burns and has had several operations.
“We couldn’t put her out,” said Winkleman. “Her tights had melted into her skin. She went up is the only way I know how to describe it. It was not like fire I had seen before.
“Like if your shirt caught fire or anything I could put it out,” she continued. “It was the tights that… they came back to life. It was like those horrific birthday candles that you blow out and then they come back.”
Video credit: BBC News/YouTube
Jorge Leon-Vallapalos, who treated Matilda at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, is now calling for tougher fire safety laws on fancy dress. Incredibly costumes are treated as toys when it comes to fire safety so they don’t have to meet the standards that children’s clothing and nightwear do. As part of their investigation into this legal flaw, Watchdog tested the flammability of several costumes bought on the high street “with shocking results.”
It was clearly extremely difficult for Winkleman to relive the incident, her eyes filling as she said, “I can’t remember life before it.” She said she hoped speaking about her experience could prevent similar accidents: “I would like parents to […] think about what they’re going to put their kids in because I didn’t and it cost us.”