Parents-to-be have much to prepare for when planning for a new baby. Keeping baby safe is usually a top-priority. This is why parents invest in things like car seats and baby monitors. However, parents-to-be almost never think about whether the baby pajamas that they buy are flame resistant. This, though, should be the number one consideration when purchasing baby pajamas.
Fortunately for parents, most baby pajamas on the North American market are flame resistant. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is the governing body responsible for testing and monitoring the safety of flame resistant baby pajamas in the United States. It creates and enforces the regulations regarding the manufacturing of safe baby products, including pajamas.
The CPSC defines “flame resistant” as having the ability “to self extinguish when exposed to an open flame for three seconds”. Baby pajamas sold in the United States must be able to pass this flame test brand new, and again after 50 launderings. Garments that cannot adhere to these standards cannot be sold as “sleepwear.”
Public controversy and confusion has swirled over the years about the definition of “flame resistant”, and also about what constitutes “sleepwear”. Not every garment made for babies is flame resistant. Current government regulations stipulate that only garments specifically intended for baby to sleep in must be able to withstand fire.
New parents often assume that any item of clothing that they purchase for an infant is flame resistant. This misconception can, and has lead to tragedy. Babies have suffered serious burns and even died from being put to bed in garments that have not been treated to resist fire.
Parents need to be vigilant when purchasing sleepers, and shouldn’t confuse everyday children’s garments with flame resistant baby pajamas. Garment appearance can be deceiving: sometimes an outfit is constructed to look like a sleeper, but isn’t intended for nighttime wear. Parents should never judge sleepwear by appearance alone.
Instead, parents need to understand the difference between “sleepwear” and “daywear” or “playwear”. Garments that are labeled as “sleepwear” must, by law, be flame resistant, because they are being sold primarily for a baby to wear to sleep. Garments which are labeled as “daywear” or “playwear” are not necessarily treated to self-extinguish in a fire. A sleeping baby should never be dressed in these kinds of garments.
In spite of CPSC labeling regulations, sometimes garments that are labeled as “sleepwear” are not fire treated. It’s also possible that garments not intended for sleep may actually be flame resistant. Sometimes manufacturers simply choose to add this safety feature as a selling point.
Sometimes parents need to “read the fine print” on the garment’s label. Information about a garment’s ability to ward off flames may be located on a tag at the back of the garment neck. It may also be located on a tag somewhere inside the garment, usually on a side seam near the bottom.
The tag should contain information that clearly states whether the garment has passed the standards for being “flame resistant”. This tag is typically yellow. However, it may also be white, so parents need to look closely and read all information on the tags.
Baby pajamas and other garments manufactured in American or by American companies tend to be fairly reliable. They can typically be counted on to provide accurate information regarding an outfit’s ability to withstand fire.
However, baby pajamas and clothing manufactured by non-American companies may not be clearly labeled. This includes garments marketed by U.S. companies, but manufactured in factories outside the U.S. Be extra vigilant when purchasing these types of garments. If you can’t find a label that clearly states that the garment is flame resistant, don’t purchase it.