Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman has spoken out for the first time about the terrifying moment her daughter’s Halloween costume caught fire.
The 43-year-old appeared on BBC’s Watchdog to discuss the horrifying incident, which led her to taking time off from presenting duties, explaining that it had been “life changing” and that she wishes “it had happened to me.”
During a fun trick or treating session last Halloween, Claudia’s eight-year-old daughter Matilda’s witch costume was engulfed in flames after it came into contact with an open flame, believed to be a pumpkin candle.
The incident left Matilda with severe burns, with a neighbour also suffering second degree burns while putting the flame out with his bare hands.
She recalled the awful moment it all happened to Chris Hollins on the show, explaining: “I was talking to somebody and then I heard her scream, and she just screamed ‘mummy’, and she was on fire.
“It feels like she was on fire for hours, but the surgeon said that it definitely wasn’t the case and it was probably just seconds.
“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 then they come back…it was really fast, it was fast, it wasn’t fire like I’d seen.”
Claudia went on to say that the ordeal had been “life changing, but not life defining,” adding that she “can’t remember life before it.”
She admitted: “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.
“I would like parents to – just on Halloween, just to think about what they’re going to put their kids in because I didn’t, and it cost us.”
A source close to the family also told MailOnline: “Matilda is a brave, brilliant girl and is doing really well and getting better all the time, in large part because of fantastic care she received.”
At the time of the ordeal, Claudia and her husband Kris Thykier said: “Our daughter was involved in an accident on Friday night while celebrating Halloween.
“She is having the best care possible and we are hopeful of a full recovery. We would like to thank everyone that has been so supportive and particularly the NHS doctors, nurses and staff who have been absolutely incredible.
“We would like to remind anyone taking part in fireworks parties or Guy Fawkes celebrations to be vigilant about the dangers of candles, open fires and fireworks and to be please have the appropriate safety measures in place and to hand.”
We’re so so glad to hear Claudia is continuing to recover after the terrifying ordeal.
Claudia’s interview features on tonight’s show, which will investigate how clothes are tested for safety and will test fancy dress costumes to find out their flammability.
Jorge Leon-Vallapalos, the paediatric plastic surgeon who treated Matilda at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, will also feature on the show, which airs at 8pm on BBC 1.
[Claudia Winkleman's Daughter Badly Burned In Halloween Incident]
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