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Children’s Sleepwear Fact Sheet


It is estimated there has been a tenfold decrease in the number of deaths associated with children’s sleepwear since the enactment of children’s sleepwear flammability standards.


The relaxed standards:

¤           Allow tight-fitting garments such as long underwear to be sold as sleepwear, 

       even if it is not flame resistant

¤           Allow sale of all types of non-flame resistant garments for infants age nine

        months and  under


Flame-resistant fabrics such as 100% polyester:

¤  Are more resistant to ignition by small flames

            ¤  Are more difficult to ignite than untreated cotton

            ¤  Self-extinguish after exposure to a small flame

            ¤  Shrink away from heat sources

            ¤  Flames travel more slowly and cover a smaller area than with

                      non-flame resistant fabrics

            ¤  Upward flame spread tends to be slow, sparing the face

                      and respiratory system

            ¤  Flame resistance does not diminish with repeated laundering


Non-flame resistant materials, including untreated cotton and cotton blends:

            ¤  Ignite at a lower temperature than polyester and other flame resistant fabrics

            ¤  Continue to burn even after the ignition source is removed

¤           Increase the risk of facial burns and inhalation injury since flames

            spread rapidly and upward

¤           100% cotton fabrics cannot pass the flammability tests in the 

            standards unless treated  with a flame retardant


Fabrics treated with flame retardant:

            ¤  Are resistant to ignition by small flames

            ¤  But, are not readily available to consumers in most markets


Loose fitting garments such as oversized T-shirts:

            ¤  Are more likely to come in contact with a flame source

            ¤  Are more likely to burn rapidly, with relatively larger flames,

                          than a tight-fitting garment


The safest garment for children to wear for sleepwear is a tight-fitting,

flame resistant or 100% polyester garment.




    Children's sleepwear fact sheet word format, 14 kb:Children’s Sleepwear Fact Sheet

    Sleepwear Brochure PDF format 360 kb: Sleepwear brochure.pdf

    Sleeping Safe (poster)  PDF format 883 kb: Sleepwear poster.pdf




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Last modified: July 11, 2004