eli5: What’s with all the fire warnings on kids’ sleep clothes? Are they gonna roll themselves into starting a fire? *totally confused*

171 views

[ad_1]

eli5: What’s with all the fire warnings on kids’ sleep clothes? Are they gonna roll themselves into starting a fire? *totally confused*

In: Physics
[ad_2]

In the ’50s there were hundreds of lawsuits over some Halloween costumes catching fire. This led to the 1953 Flammable Fabrics Act.

Those types of clothing are fire/flame retardant and must self extinguish

The regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 16 CFR Part 1615 for children’s sleepwear sized above 9 months and up to 6X, and at 16 CFR Part 1616 for children’s sleepwear sized 7 through 14. The two rules contain basically the same requirements, with the main difference being the sizes of the garments covered by each.

There’s a fascinating episode of Articles of Interest (a pod mini-series from 99% Invisible) about this very subject. [https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/kids-clothes-articles-of-interest-1/](https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/kids-clothes-articles-of-interest-1/)

The idea is that in a nighttime house fire, their clothing should be somewhat protective. Children’s sleepwear must either be 1) flame-retardant or 2) close-fitted to the body (which means it won’t have as much oxygen and won’t catch fire as easily).

For a similar reason, [mattresses are required to be fire-resistant for 30 minutes in open flame.](https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2007-07-01-0706300004-story.html)

People should have a chance to get out of a house fire even if they’re asleep when it starts.

Interestingly some squashed research into SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) iirc in Ireland showed that the off gassing of new baby items with all their fire retardant chemicals had a higher impact on causing infant death, especially in the face down position.
This in part led to the “back to sleep” campaigns.

While many of the original fire retardant jammies were self extinguishing, they were made of polyesters / synthetics that created another problem, the fabrics would melt into burn wounds compounding treatment.

Now with decades of trial and error, it’s clear that well fitting all cotton pajamas are a safer bet. No chemicals to leach into the body/ environment or wear away with washing… In a fire they’ll rapidly burn away, but not cause engulfed burning and no bits get melded into wounds. Well fitting so trailing edges don’t catch from heating sources or god forbid passing flames while exiting a fire…