Monday, February 18, 2008

Fire Safety Pajamas

Fire safety is a topic we cover on the news each year when space heaters and old furnaces tend to catch fire. This got me thinking about the fire safety warnings on my sons' pajamas. Some of their jammies are tight and some are loose.

So what are the fire safety requirements for P.J.s and why do they exist? Here's what I found:

Kid's sleepwear is required to be either snug fitting or made out of fire-resistant material, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There are three different types of acceptable sleepwear for kids:

1. Flame-Resistant loose-fitting sleepwear made of polyester
2. Snug-fitting sleepwear out of natural fabrics like cotton
3. Chemically Treated sleepwear that's loose-fitting and cotton

The flame-resistant sleepwear is supposed to stop burning once it's removed from a flame. Snug fitting clothing is too tight against the skin to provide enough oxygen to feed a flame.

Q: Which type of sleepwear is best? (Ebay of all places has this list of questions/answers that are very helpful)

A: Each solution has its pros and cons: Loose-fitting polyester fabric may fit more comfortably, but does not “breathe” against warm little bodies the way natural fabrics do. Snug-fitting natural fabric can breathe well but may be too tight to be comfortable. And loose-fitting natural fabric treated with flame retardants is comfortable and breathes well, but is typically more expensive because of the costs associated with treating the fabric.

Q: Does all children’s sleepwear meet safety requirements?

A: Children’s sleepwear from Infant size 9 months to Children size 14 must meet these safety requirements if the manufacturer does not wish to receive a hefty penalty. Items marketed as sleepwear that are not made of flame-resistant materials and do not contain flame retardant chemicals must include a brightly-colored tag with the statement: "Wear Snug-fitting, Not Flame Resistant."

Q: Do pajamas or nighties sold as “loungewear” have to meet the same safety requirements?

A: No. This is a loophole that some manufacturers use to avoid the extra costs associated with providing safe-fitting sleepwear. As long as the “loungewear” (or “underwear”) designs look different from their sleepwear product and is kept in a separate location of the store, they are permitted to classify the items under other categories.

Q: It sounds as though finding comfortable and safe sleepwear is nearly impossible unless I want to pay an arm and a leg for it.

A: That is true, but only in some cases. During the cooler months, or if your child’s bedroom is cool at night, he or she will be perfectly comfortable in loose-fitting, flame-resistant polyester. If you prefer a natural fabric that breathes, you can always go up a size or two so that their sleepwear isn’t so tight. (Note: the CPSC does not recommend doing so, as it presents an increased risk of injury caused by fire.)

Q: If I can buy a larger size in the more comfortable cotton sleepwear, why would I even consider spending more on fabrics treated with flame-retardant chemicals?

A: Because it’s ultimately the safest alternative. The companies that invest the time and money into producing flame-retardant natural sleepwear fabrics generally also produce higher quality clothing, which means it will fit better and last longer than some of the less expensive options.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Exblick said...

Hmm...both of my boys prefer to sleep in pajama pants only and abhor sticky static-y polyester. (They're a little neurotic.)Neither will be in size 14 for a while as they're pretty lean and mean. They seem to prefer the tighter fitting longjohn style pj pants. But, what about flame retardant bedding? Are manufacturers of child-geared bedding held to the same standards as pj makers? said...

Good question about the bedding. I will see what I can find out. I'm glad to hear your kids like the p.j.s that are safe!

Shannon said...

Am I the only one that cringes at the thought of putting clothes with fire-retardant chemicals in them on my children? For me, that's actually a deal-breaker when I'm looking to buy them pj's. said...

Yah, Shannon. I have thought about that. I think I'll stick with cotton or polyester as opposed to chemically treated.

Jennifer said...

It's kind of sickening, too, that companies label clothes "lounge wear" to get around fire safety rules...

adelaidesmom said...

I have researched flame retardent fabrics for children and it is something I AVOID whenever buying clothes or pjs for my kids.....the cancer causing chemicals they use will hurt your child in the long they are absorbed into the skin as they are worn. I would suggest ONLY buyin 100% cotton pjs....if you search, you can find them for sure....stay away from polyester and flame retardent treated fabrics....
What the manufacturers are doing in order to make sure they follow safety fire guidelines is OVER treating the products such as clothes, pjs, car seats, mattresses, and more with flame retardents just to make sure they meet the guidelines, but in turn are hurting our babies and children because these chemicals are harmful to our health and cancer causing....and then the problem with trying to buy chemical free items, is that the cost is so much higher than the average person can is just a shame that our babies and kids are being given these items for use and most parents are just unaware of the harm. I wish it was more known to all parents about the chemicals that are leaching into our children by the products we buy them....the list goes on from hygiene products, to food, to clothes, sleep, gear, etc....

Michele said...

In the past year I have changed our gasoline to E85, lightbulbs to save energy, stopped using some types of detergents, all fabric softeners, changed our cookware, stopped using the microwave and watching out for some ingredients in foods and many more things..... now I have something else to look out for. I'm not sure if I'm just being health conscious or developing a disorder. HA Anyway, it all makes me want to live in a bubble but then it would be plastic and who knows what chemicals are in it. I just wish that manufacturers were more interested in OUR safety than THEIR pocketbooks!! We need to educate ourselves instead of hoping that they are.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips on the three kinds of PJs. Just because natural fibers clothes are chemically treated to become fire retardant does not mean they will poison your kids, give them cancer or make their genitals fall off. Please refrain from posting advise as to avoid 'high-tech' treated fibers without actual sources and references.

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