Making good decisions that prioritize your kid’s safety and health is a big reason why you do research on everything! You read parenting blogs, talk to other parents, and review product labels. That’s probably even how you found out that sleepwear needs to meet certain flammability requirements! This desire to know what is best for your littles is exactly why so many Little Sleepies community members often ask for more details about sleepwear safety.
When designing and developing your favorite Little Sleepies jammies, your kiddos’ safety is our number one priority, and we think it’s important that you know why we choose not to use flame retardant chemicals on our products and place your child’s safety at the core of our decision.
What’s the history of flame resistant and flame retardant in children's products?
Once upon a time, the majority of sleepwear made for children was loose-fitting and had a higher risk of catching on fire when close to open flames (think cigarettes, candlelight, etc.). In 1953, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed the Flammable Fabrics Act, later transferred to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1967. In 1975, the sleepwear portion of the act was enacted which required children's sleepwear - ages 9 months to 14 years - meet a standard to create flame resistant products.
This requirement was for children’s sleepwear only. The idea was that children were in their pajamas during morning and evening hours when they were likely closer to open flames on stoves.
Cotton and cotton-blend garments do not meet the standard unless they are treated with a chemical that makes them flame retardant. By doing so, the product is designed to slow down ignition or combustion if caught on fire.
Studies were then found that the flame retardant chemicals used in products were toxic (brominated and chlorinated tris which were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and PBDEs possibly contributed to learning disabilities and reduced fertility. Similarly, these chemicals were found in carpets, furniture, and toys, some of which are still in homes and products.
Further studies found that brominated tris could damage DNA and was probably absorbed through the skin. And parents were sending their kids to bed in pajamas treated with the stuff.
In 1996, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) amended the requirement that tight-fitting pajamas were not required to be flame retardant. This is because the tighter-fitting product has no air between the child’s skin and the fabric, and the fire gets less oxygen to ignite further.
This requirement does not apply for children sizes 9 months and under because these littles are not mobile enough to expose themselves to an open flame.
Are our pajamas treated with fire retardant chemicals?
Our safety standards are at the heart of the product we design and why we created your favorite Little Sleepies jammies. Our products are safety tested, lead-tested, and compliant with all CPSC regulations. We use natural dyes and no chemicals in the finishing of our line. Our products have been independently lab tested and are free of chemicals and flame retardants.
Little Sleepies pajamas do not need flame retardant because they are designed to fit snugly. This is why you won’t find children’s nightgowns in our product selection - nightgowns are not considered tight-fitting. In order for us to make this product available to you and follow the required guidelines, we would need to add chemicals to the garments. And we’re just not okay with that.
The flame retardant standards in children’s pajamas are not required for big kids starting at 15 years of age. We have relaxed fit options for adults in our signature buttery soft bamboo viscose fabrics - free of flame-retardant! Again, this decision is to align with our commitment to bring you products that are free of chemicals and safe for sensitive skin.
Why we don’t need flame-retardant in our kid’s pajamas
These standards were implemented at a different time and are outdated for today’s households and lifestyles. We have since seen significant improvements in the mechanisms put in place to minimize the risk of fire dangers and deaths. The Flammable Fabrics Act was introduced because of encounters between lighters and burning cigarettes, something we are seeing less of with fewer people smoking (and campaigns around the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke). We also have more homes with smoke detectors and earlier detection to leave a burning building.
Many homes today have upgraded to flameless options, like electric ranges and fireplaces, and LED candles, keeping children at a lower risk of burn injuries.
How do I know if the product has flame retardant?
The CPSC requires that children’s sleepwear is labeled with washing instructions intended to retain flame resistance in fabric, whether the fabric has been treated or not. So it’s important to look for the yellow tag and labels notifying that “this garment must be worn close-fitting” or “this garment is not flame resistant and must be worn close-fitting” in sizes larger than 9 months.
Many children’s pajamas are also made with polyester fleece because of their soft and fuzzy fabrication. These pajamas are rarely treated with flame retardants because the man-made fabric created from polyester is non-flammable. But polyester is a plastic and although it may not ignite into flames if it touches an open flame, it will melt unless there are flame retardants. Some brands describe their product as “flame resistant without any chemical treatment” because of the polyester used in the fabrication.
How do I remove the chemicals from the product?
Our recommendation is to not purchase any kid’s clothing - pajamas or everyday wear - that have been treated with flame retardant and if possible, always choose clothes made with untreated, natural fiber materials that are sustainable and safe for your family.
What additional questions do you have about the safety of Little Sleepies pajamas? Do you typically try to avoid products with flame retardants? We’d love to hear more from you. Leave us a comment below and check out our frequently asked questions to learn more about our product standards.