Claudia Winkleman has spoken for the first time about the horrifying moment her daughter's Halloween costume was engulfed in flames last October. Recalling the accident that saw eight-year-old Matilda's costume catch fire, the TV presenter said it had been "life-changing" for both her and her daughter, adding: "I can't remember life before it."
In an interview with the BBC's Watchdog programme, the Strictly Come Dancing co-host remembered the terrifying moment: "I was talking to somebody and then I heard her shout and she was on fire. It feels like she was on fire for hours, but the surgeon said it was probably just seconds.
Claudia Winkleman opens up about her daughter's Halloween accident on Watchdog
"She went up is the only way I know how to describe it – it was a spark and she screamed out for me.
"It was like those horrific birthday candles that you blow out and they come back. It was really fast, it was fast, it wasn't fire like I'd seen."
The TV presenter said that the accident was "life-changing" for both her and her daughter
The 43-year-old – who had to miss three episodes of Strictly at the time to be at her daughter's bedside – called on parents to be vigilant about the fancy dress costumes they buy for their children and to make sure they avoid flammable fabrics, saying: "I didn't, and it cost us."
She told Watchdog: "It's life changing, but not life defining. It was definitely life changing for me. I can't remember life before it."
The mother-of-three also expressed her regret at buying the witch costume of hat, cape, stripey tights and a flowing skirt from the supermarket: "I wish I had been dressed as the witch is mainly all I wish, that it had happened to me. She went up, and I don't want that to happen to another child.
Claudia and husband Kris Thykier have three children together; Jake, Arthur and Matilda
Thursday's edition of Watchdog investigates the safety testing for such clothes and conducts experiments to work out the flammability of high street fancy dress costumes, with "shocking results".
Matilda's outfit caught alight after touching an open flame and burned so fiercely that a neighbour suffered second degree burns while putting it out with his bare hands. Matilda had severe burns, particularly to one leg.