Hot, Hot, Hot- Why Are Kids’ Pajamas Flame Resistant?

Even with my computer out of action this week, I’m still reading way too much online, apparently, because I ran into another log jam of modern parenting this week… flame-resistant kids’ pajamas.

why are kids pajamas flame resistant


Just stick with me. I swear this does relate to organizing.

You may or may not be aware that most children’s pajamas in the US come with the tag or stamp that they are “flame resistant”. What that means is that they have been manufactured or sprayed with chemicals that are supposed to protect our children.

Did you just do the same double-take I did? why are kid's pajamas flame resistant

Back in the 70’s, when I was growing up, it seemed like everybody smoked at home, smoked in bed, and generally stunk up the place. My own parents and grandparents were among them. I’m so glad that fewer folks smoke these days. At the time, the chemical manufacturers thought it would be a good idea to get some laws passed that would make our bedding and children’s pajamas flame retardant, which oh by the way, would allow them to sell more chemicals.

Sure, there are other things besides smoking that could cause fires in the vicinity of a child, but what are the chances? On the other hand, my child’s chances of wearing pajamas tonight are 100%.

You can read more about how American’s love of flame retardants came to be, and my search for a chemical-free mattress when I redecorated my daughter’s room. You can also find plenty on the web, just by searching, “Why are pajamas flame resistant?”

Last week, I came across the STINK movie, which you can watch free for the month of October. It’s a moving tribute to the director’s wife, and a revealing documentary about chemicals in our clothes. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this might be particularly meaningful to you, and might help you make some changes in your own life.

So, poor hubby walked right into this debate going on in my head when he purchased KittyCat a new pair of jammies this week. He gets points for style, but not for label reading.

flame resistant pjamas for my child

The director of the movie above is dedicated, but most of us are not going to give up our day jobs to hunt down the names of chemicals that may or may not have been used in our clothes. May I offer some alternatives, instead?

  1. Brand names don’t mean much to me, but you might want to check out Hanna Andersson pajamas, which are organic and chemical-free. They are a bit more pricey than the big box options, but really, how many PJ’s do you need? I’m at the point in life where I’d rather have one really nice quality and healthy item than five that are questionable. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, take note. These are great gifts that mom and dad might not want to spring for, but will probably be much appreciated. There are surely other brands of organic sleepwear out there. Feel free to shout them out in the comments below.
  2. Make your own. Sounds great, but not happening this week at my house, let’s be honest.
  3. Who says sleepwear needs to come from the pajama rack? KittyCat is just as happy to have a cute regular, non flame-resistant t-shirt and leggings set with a sparkly design. Snug-fitting garments of all types fit the recommendations that limit the chance a child can catch a flame from a candle or stove. A sparkly unicorn tee and soft star-and-planet themed leggings got big smiles from the nine-year old.

flame resistant pajama alternatives

This is just one tiny little example of the choices in our modern life that we sometimes don’t even know that we are making. A quick trip to the other side of the store led me to purchase super cute jammies that haven’t been sprayed with potentially carcinogenic or neorutoxic chemicals, for just $2 more.

The moral of this organizing story? Be mindful of the things that come into your life, whether you buy them or they are given to you. Learning more about the world we live in, and the things we use every day, can have long term effects. The world is very seldom black and white. You will never be organized once and for all. There is no award for being the most organized, the most organic, the most anything. But there is sometimes peace, and perhaps better health, and sometimes more organization, in seeking out alternatives to the obvious choices in a mass-produced world.

OK, sound off below. Would you rather have five pair of “regular” pajamas for your kid, or one of the alternatives above?

And if your child has a pajama drawer that is overflowing, does this give you a good excuse to go purge some jammies that don’t make the grade?


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Barbarawendel

    Interesting. I’ve wondered for years and have made a lot of sleepwear. Thanks.

    1. Darla

      Glad I could shed a little light, Barbara. I wish my Grandma were still around to sew nightgowns for my girls.

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