Reader Question: Flame Resistant Pajamas?
Reader Submitted Question: I just bought polyester flame resistant pajamas because my daughter is in an in-between size stage. The doctor’s office said she either needs to wear the flame resistant or tight fitting cotton non-flame resistant. The issue is that there isn’t a current cotton size that would comfortably be snug on her. What would you recommend? – Maria, CT
Response: The fit, style and material play into safety considerations somewhat. Specific concerns include the treatment of sleepwear with flame-retardant chemicals and choking hazards. Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics for children’s sleepwear. Cotton sleepwear is recommended to fit snugly to reduce flammability, as tighter clothes that do not trap oxygen are less likely to catch fire. Polyester is the other major fabric used for children’s sleepwear. It has naturally ‘built in’ flame retardants, where the flame retardant is inserted into the fabric fiber and considered chemically stable. Because the garment is not treated directly it is a popular fabric choice for large manufacturers of sleepwear. Some synthetic fabrics (nylon and acetate, appears similar to silk) may be treated with additional flame retardants, but they must still follow the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations on the use of flame retardants in children’s garments. If information is not given on the garment’s tag, such as “chemically treated”, you can contact the manufacturer and inquire about the chemicals used in the treatment. Read here for more information about flame retardants.
Unfortunately, the risk of fire and burns versus the risk of toxic chemical exposure is one that must be weighed individually by the parents. However, the use of flame retardants will always slow, and sometimes prevent, a fire. The health risk from flame retardants is real but only observed at very high exposures—much higher than found in pajamas. And, of course, always keep kids away from matches, candles, and cigarettes.
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