How the “Underwear Police” Story Relates to Free-Range Kids

Hi Readers! I just got this very legitimate question about what the heck underwear flammability regulations (see below) have to do with Free-Range Kids, and as I was writing up my response, I realized it made sense to share it. So here you go: a Q &A with — me!

Dear Free-Range Kids: How is this a Free-Range issue? It’s about a government safety rule (agree with it or not, it is what it is), and a store that has to comply and a manufacturer who could be sued — and forget could, WOULD be sued because we live in a society where people DO that, for anything that seems to go wrong and could result in money. It’s not “weird,” it’s a perfect example of how the world works.

So back to my question — how is this a Free-Range issue? I thought it was about parenting, about encouraging our kids to be responsible for themselves and not be afraid of the world. Not about a company following a government”s policies.

Dear Reader: Good question! Here’s the deal:

As I look at how parenting has changed in the past generation or so, one of the factors making us more scared is the idea that everything is dangerous. Walking to school, drinking from a plastic cup, buying a used high chair, putting your kid in a shopping cart, eating a homemade cupcake…you name it.

When the government reinforces the idea that very remote dangers are dangers that we should nonetheless address immediately and keep high on our radar, it is adding to the anxiety of the average parent. In effect, it’s telling us, “Your child is almost always unsafe!” It also reinforces the idea that a .00000003 % chance of danger is not an acceptable risk to take.  See the post somewhere below about a nurse who warned parents that a “Baby on Board” sign could decapitate a child.

When we “What if?” to that extent — What if we’re in a horrible accident AND maybe the child COULD survive, BUT  the “Baby on Board” sign becomes detached AND flies horizontally through the air AND hits the child RIGHT in the NECK, THEN how would we feel with a decapitated kid that we could have saved if only we’d been a little more proactive about safety? — when we’re encouraged to think like that, nothing is proactive or protective enough. Society is telling us we should be thinking about the most far-fetched, ludicrous, summer-Hollywood-blockbuster scenarios and planning for them, seriously, or we are bad parents putting our kids in danger.

In the case of the store recalling its pajamas that aren’t up to code (though they WERE up to code when they were labeled underwear), I totally agree: The store had to comply or risk being sued. That’s outrageous, too, and I consider lawyers crying, “Negligence!” when there is none to be part of the problem, too. Excess litigiousness is part of the whole shebang of  dangerizing everything.

Thus we have reached the point where most normal childhood activities, equipment, and, now, pajamas  all seem extremely — and equally — unsafe. And as a result, there is less and less we allow our children to do, especially on their own. We pull them ever closer out of fear of everything, everywhere.

That changes childhood, that changes parenting, and THAT is why this piece is here.

Thanks for asking. — Lenore

Cool, if gratuitous, photo of underwear!

56 Responses

  1. I have never understood why children are supposed to be more flammable when they’re sleeping than when they’re awake.

  2. Robyn, as I understand it, the reason for flame-retardant sleepwear is to prevent fires in case a child is sleeping near an open flame or space heater. I’m sure most of us would make sure that a child (or an adult for that matter) wasn’t sleeping close enough to such things to be a danger but most of us (I assume) aren’t trying to heat our homes with multiple space heaters, some many years old, because it’s the only heat we have. Also, kids will move toward the heat if it’s cold.

    I thought, as someone said on the other post, that sleepwear either had to be close fitting or flame-retardant but I could be wrong.

  3. Note that an extra “http…” snuck in to the link about the decapitating baby sign, it should be:

    https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/baby-on-board-and-likely-to-be-decapitated/

  4. Ugh. I don’t put that crap next to my kid’s skin.

    If I did, the chances of my child’s skin absorbing poisonous chemicals would be 100%.

    The chances of my house catching fire AND the fire going into my child’s room AND me not having gotten there in time? Pretty slim, I think. Not close to 100% anyway.

    And no, there’s no chemicals in our mattresses either. Because dying from smoke inhalation while stuck on an island of a non-burning mattress just didn’t appeal to our family.🙂

  5. I’m lucky if I can get my kid in a pair of shorts at bedtime. 8 years old and he is a confirmed nudist.

    My mom always told me you could walk down into the cellar and an ax could fall on your head. I’ll take my chances. Nobody has ever gotten out of life alive.

  6. From the sounds of this whole hoopla, it’s not really about the safety of the child, but the safety of the manufacturer. Who wants to be sued because some parent puts their child in a position that he/she may catch on fire. And really, in this day and age of opportunists, that’s 10x more likely to happen than a child actually catching on fire (that they need fire retardant clothing). eg. Woman orders HOT coffee, leaves the lid off, puts the cup between her legs and drives off. Now anyone with half a brain would know what WILL happen, but this fool didn’t (or maybe she did), coffee spills and burns her. She sues McDonald’s for $600K…and wins.

    It’s a sad world, not only do our children have to live and grow up in it’s current state, but paranoid parents compound the problem by teaching their children it’s normal to be fearful of almost everything. I’m just thankful that there are some of us who still have a level head, logic, common sense, and reason. That we care about our children to teach them to overcome obstacles in life and not run away from them. And thanks to individuals like Lenore, who take up the cause and lead charge to better parenting.

  7. Damian:

    You should read more about that case before using it as an example of frivolous lawsuits.

    1) She was a passenger, not the driver
    2) She attempted to add cream and sugar while the car was stopped (still in the parking lot)
    3) She suffered 3rd degree burns “over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas.”
    4) She sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused.
    5) During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992.

    There is more, about how McDonalds coffee was served way, way too hot for human consumption (their assertion being that people took it home and wanted it hot when they got there), and the temperature was reduced after settlement.

    Read more here: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

    Not all lawsuits are evil.

  8. Charlie – you missed the part about WHY McD’s served the coffee so hot. It was because if you serve coffee too hot people can’t tell that you’re using cheap coffee.

    Their motive is important because it proved that they were making a cost/benefit calculation with regards to safety. And while that is an important business function, it points out that to improve safety, you have to change the economics behind it.

    Hence the big lawsuit.

    McD’s changed their coffee temp, then changed the coffee that they serve, now are attempting to compete by serving good coffee. Funny how that works.

  9. Thanks Lenore for answering the question. I was actually wondering that myself when I read the postings earlier today.

    @ Charlie and BrianJ, thanks for pointing that out. I hate when people try to use that McD’s case as an example of frivolous lawsuits because McD’s really was in the wrong.

  10. Good coffee? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
    Sure, they probably serve better coffee than they used to, but “good” is a big word…

  11. I wonder why the government isn’t banning those fairly new bed blankets that are synthetic and super soft, they are flammable, the plush ones? Some people also use fleece type synthetic blankets (similar to Polar Fleece), they are also flammable.

    While we’re at it, isn’t Polar Fleece jackets and also North Face type (all the trend) jackets flammable? Not good for chilly nights in front of a campfire such as on Scout trips..

    Ridiculousness.

    Not to mention some babies with sensitive skin break out in rashes from synthetic mateirals with flame retarders on them…they don’t allow heat to breathe and the kids sweat….then the baby wakes up in discomfort of too-hot, and cries…and parents miserable from lack of sleep…

  12. Sorry for typos, I was typing fast before I had to log off.

  13. I believe that our leaders like us being afraid — it makes the masses that much easier to control. It’s strange, then, that the Justice Department’s crime numbers are always so accurate (if incomprehensible). They tend to be much, much, much lower than the scare numbers my elderly relatives insist on emailing to me.

  14. The reason sleepwear supposedly has to be safer than daywear is that you don’t notice a fire right away when you’re sleeping, and in the case of a child, there’s no caregiver there in the same room to notice for you. That’s the logic behind it.

    But I agree, it’s an overblown concern. The vast majority of night time house fires don’t just “happen” — they’re a result of misusing heating appliances, bad wiring, and the like. It makes far more sense to keep the home environment safe than to worry about how fast a child’s clothing will burn.

    The McD’s lawsuit wasn’t frivolous, but the jury’s initial award was out of line. That’s where it should be criticized. Putting coffee between your legs IS NOT SAFE even when it is only moderately hot. There should have been shared culpability, if anything — McD’s for the heat of the coffee (maybe, but adults really should know to handle hot liquids as though they’re hot, and whether they’re only hot enough to burn you or hot enough to BURN you shouldn’t really change that), the victim for putting hot coffee between her legs at all, and particularly in an unstable situation (a car that can move.)

  15. Well said.

    Also, it’s always been a puzzlement to me where people got the idea that children have a habit of bursting into flames in their sleep, yet not during waking hours. So far mine have yet to exhibit this behavior, asleep or otherwise.

  16. Charlie, BrianJ and DMT.

    Sorry but I have to agree with pentamom. The claim seems to be that McD sold hot coffee because they can use an inferior product that way.

    But, umm, don’t businesses do that all the time, and isn’t using the materials that are ‘good enough’ without overspending considered good practice?

    And I think McD had 700 claims at least in part because…well, they are McD and people try to sue them over frivolous stuff all of the time in the hope of a quick buck.

    So, yes, the coffee was hot, and they may have been trying to make a little extra money. I don’t see that as a crime.

    OTOH…I hate their coffee so I would seem to be in no danger🙂

  17. @houldsworth – this is where the whole idea of standards comes in. Would you expect that when you receive a hot beverage in a container that is supposed to be used to drink from, that it would be dangerous to drink? Most would not. Hence, standards. In this case, McDonald’s had internal data about how hot a beverage would need to be to cause injuries, and they still served coffee hotter than that. Hence, they were held liable for knowingly causing injuries to their customers.

    That’s why it mattered whether people intended to drink their coffee right away or 10 minutes later. McD’s argued later, but that argument didn’t work because real people (jurors) thought “I buy coffee when I want it, not 10 minutes before).” Similarly, real people (e.g regulators) looked at the Joe Boxer underwear and said “that stuff, sold to girls, is pjs, not underwear, and therefore must meet the pj standard, not the underwear standard.”

    If you think the standard is bad, argue that. But recognize the enforcing a standard is different than writing one.

  18. McD’s kept the coffee above the regulation temp not to hide the cheap coffee but to discourage refills. By the time the coffee cooled down enough to drink, most people were done eating & didn’t go back for a free refill. Had McD kept the coffee at the normal temp the lady might not have suffered such severe burns.

  19. I love your blog. I’ve added it to my favorite bookmarks and subscribed in a reader.

    Looking forward to reading more posts by you.

    Thanks.

  20. Oh heck Lenore, I’m still trying to get my 6 year old to actually WEAR HER UNDERWEAR. Seems she figured out going commando is apparently safer these days. Ha! It’s all about the safety, after all. That is what I was saying to myself as she was lying on the dentist’s table today, in a dress – with no underwear. Priceless. But she will not be going up in flames.

  21. What about MY pajamas? How come no one cares about me? WHAT IF I just happened to burst into flame right here, right now?

    Great post, Lenore.

  22. Of course the lawmakers seem to be missing the point in the house-fire it is generally the smoke that kills you NOT the flames.

    However, I was under the impression the change came about in the 70s with a few “melting-pajama-moments”

  23. Well, Lorraine, no, since this recall took place in CANADA, they wouldn’t have been sued. You’re dead wrong about that. If Sears Canada had refused to comply with Health Canada in this recall, the stock would have been seized, imports would have been stopped at the border, and they would have been ticketed and fined. If premeditation could be proven they could have even ended up being prosecuted by the Crown. But, they would NOT have been sued, our justice system is very, very different from yours.

    ” Free-Rangers believe in helmets, car seats, seat belts — safety!”

    But not consumer safety? You are obviously a very smart woman, please don’t try to tell me that you believe that corporations have the best interest of you, your children, and our planet at heart without standards they are required to adhere too. Surely there have been enough corporate scandals and recalls of truly dangerous products in the last 30 years that even the most naive of us don’t believe that? (And yes, sometimes standards are made in haste and repented at leisure, the same as all laws made by politicians looking toward re-election. But it’s a damn-site better than anarchy.)

    I parent the way my parents did in the 70’s, and I’m able to do so in the comprehensive atmosphere on this continent of fear by recognizing what there is to be truly afraid of and making decisions based on that. I’m not afraid that my children will be kidnapped by a stranger, I do worry that they could be kidnapped by one of my ex’s loony relatives and we have a password so they’ll know if they should leave with someone, even if they’re related to them.

    I don’t worry that their nightclothes will catch fire and melt into their skin, simply because they’re standing beside the wood-stove at their Grandmothers, because standards were put in place after similar “accidents” in the 70’s and are enforced to prevent that from happening.

    I thought that was what “Free Range Parenting” was about, having the information to make rational decisions about what was safe? When a retailer takes it upon themselves to mislead the public about the safety of a product, say by labeling it as “underwear” to avoid standards it doesn’t comply with, when it obviously will be used as “sleepwear”, that is exactly the kind of decision it is impossible to make.

  24. Attention everyone!

    Here’s a little exercise.

    Number your paper from 1 to 10 and write down the names of the commenters here who sound the LEAST like “genuine” Free Range advocates.

    Hint:
    You wouldn’t want to invite them home for coffee.

  25. Christine said: “While we’re at it, isn’t Polar Fleece jackets and also North Face type (all the trend) jackets flammable? Not good for chilly nights in front of a campfire such as on Scout trips..”

    SHHHH! Don’t tell or they’ll ruin our lovely soft fleeces with more nasty chemicals!

  26. The funny thing is that most people don’t even realize that kiddy PJs have all those chemicals on them, whether the parent chooses that or not. To me that is more insidious than a company making a cloth product that is exactly what it looks like.

    I wonder if disposable diapers are flame retardant? An awful lot of babies wear them to bed.

  27. Okay, what’s really been pissing me off in these two threads was using a Canadian story and then applying American sensibilities to it. (Which is a typically Canadian thing to be pissed off about, and now all the other Canadians are saying, “Oh, that’s what’s up her ass!”)

    So, for the last time, our standards are VERY different from yours:

    All clothing that is in any way related to sleeping are included in the sleepwear standards. Jammies, robes, slippers, even those pajama pants sold as day wear kids were wearing everywhere a few years ago, and cami and boxer sets.

    There is no getting around the standards with labels saying “not intended as sleepwear”, as apparently there is in the States.

    Cotton sleepwear, even organic cotton sleepwear easily passes our standards.

    It is illegal to sell items of clothing in Canada that has been impregnated with a fire retardant chemical without it being clearly labeled in English and French, so that people who don’t want those chemicals near their families (myself included) have a clear choice to go and buy something else.

    Our standards are MUCH lower than yours, for the recalled clothes to fail, they had to catch fire really pretty quickly (Under 1 second) and then burn merry-hell. (More than 7 seconds, count to 7 Mississippi)

    Before standards for flammability in childrens sleepwear were instituted in Canada in 1972, the average was 22 children a year being badly burned, and 2 deaths. Since there were instituted, those numbers have dropped to zero. (We have 1/10th the population of the States, I’d guess your stat’s were probably 10 times ours.)

    There are standards for the flammability of kids sleepwear and not adults because when adults clothes catch fire, they slap it out. When kids do, they run. (Often even the ones who’s been taught to stop, drop, and roll.)

    The Canadian political, judicial, and standard systems are very different from the American ones. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, and then complaining that the oranges aren’t red enough, and taste funny. Which is guaranteed to piss off a Canadian every. single. time.

    And by the way, it does sound like your standards are pretty draconian, they put flame retardants on kids clothes without people knowing it!? That sucks, so do something about it. Start bitching somewhere other than online, loudly. To every elected official you can corner. Financially support the people at your Colleges who are doing studies on the safety of the chemicals used. Use their studies to affect change. Get the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s involved, pissed off old people scare the crap out of the politicians here, they know they vote. Vote. Be louder than the scare-mongers.

    And @Wry Smile, your right, I don’t necessarily consider myself a “Free Range Parent”, probably because I’ve been parenting the way Lorraine defines as “Free Range” since 1992. My kids range in age from 18 years old to 2 years old and I haven’t lost one yet, actually in all the years that I haven’t know where, other than, “somewhere in the neighborhood” my older kids were, we didn’t even have a broken bone. (Sprained wrist once, but that was because my second oldest was riding his unicycle in the living room and ran over his brother.)

  28. So are all those chemicals the reason pajamas cost so much? I buy one pair of pj’s a year per kid as a Christmas Eve present opening tradition. Otherwise, we use old/stained clothes to sleep in.

    @Anita – LOL! My 9yo son also goes commando. I actually asked our doctor if it was ok and he just gave me this look so…I guess I’ll save some money on underwear as well as pj’s.

  29. If you want ridiculous lawsuit examples, just read the first page of Overlawyered any day. I’d give some of my recent favorite examples but I think it’s off topic. The underwear story here is more about labeling. In the US, sex toys are labelled “novelties” and “gag gifts” because many places ban the sale of sex toys. I imagine the strict new rules on testing all children’s products for lead will lead to toys being labelled as “collector’s items.” People know what they’re getting, but companies and governments have to play a little dance around each other regardless.

  30. Always such good conversations in these comments.
    And as always I learn so much!
    Thanks.

  31. This company needed to follow the rules, plain and simple. I find it highly unlikely that a recall like this would prompt fear and hysteria. It just made me laugh. But, I can think of examples of other recalls that aren’t so funny and I’m glad they happened. Our laws exist for a reason. It’s up to us to use our best judgement on how much focus we place on such safety concerns. For me, the PJ’s wouldn’t be a big deal, but I wouldn’t buy one of those infant slings that were recalled earlier this year. And, more information doesn’t make me afraid, it makes me informed and more confidant in my parenting choices.

  32. @houldsworth & Pentamom –

    NO beverage should be sold to the level that the slightest spilling causes 3rd degree burns and skin grafts. The woman may have been partially responsible for WHERE the burns occurred but not the burns themselves. Would you find her culpable at all if she had taken the lid off (something many do to add cream and sugar) and the coffee had spilled on her hand, causing 3rd degree burns and skin grafts? Of course not so the location of the burns is irrelevant to the fact that McDs sold coffee that was so far beyond standards as to cause serious injury through an anticipated use of the product – opening the lid to add cream and sugar.

    And the inital amount was not over what was necessary to get the attention of McDs. It was almost all punitive damages – damages meant to punish McD’s. McDs is a major corporation, making billions of dollars a year. They wouldn’t have batted their eyes at 20k verdict. That would have simply been a cost of doing business allowing McDs to go back to business as usual and serving coffee at 3rd degree burn temps. We don’t want companies to make determinations that say “we know our product is unnecessarily dangerous but it will cost us more to fix the problem than to pay out judgments so we’ll continue dangerous practices and pay for the deaths and injuries as they arise.” The only way to change is to hit them where it hurts – the bottom line. Yes, this particular woman got far more than she deserved but it is sometimes the only way to force a company to act responsibly.

    You can’t have it both ways. This post is complaining of stupid government regulations so you don’t want those. You don’t want verdicts that would actually make companies notice and change their dangerous practices. Apparently, then some here are okay with companies knowingly and intentionally maiming and killing people to protect their profit because that is what we are talking about. If nothing – government regulations or paying out large sums of money – can be used to force some companies to act in the public interest then McDs would still be knowingly selling coffee likely to cause 3rd degree burns and Ford would still be knowingly selling cars that explode on impact.

    I’m free range and believe that there is way too much focus on safety first. Life has risks and everything can’t be made perfectly safe. But I draw the line at companies making products that are knowingly UNNECESSARILY dangerous in order to add a few bucks to the bottom line.

  33. Ummm excuse me, the whole coffee thing happened over a decade ago. It is not a good example on either side – it is a sensationalized story that really needs to be put to bed.

    Let it go, for goodness sakes!

  34. BrianJ — for the purposes of the lawsuit, it should not matter whether the coffee was too hot to DRINK. ALL coffee (unless it’s genuinely cold) is *too hot to put between your legs.*

    If the person had been arguing that she sustained severe burns from attempting to DRINK the coffee, then McD’s would be (possibly) open to criticism (though every decent cup of coffee I’ve ever been served was too hot to drink at the time of serving also, though possibly not any as hot as McD’s.) But no restaurant should even be held liable for serving food that is too hot to be safe when precariously balanced near the body, unless it is food intended to be served cold.

  35. As for the “spilling on your hand” analogy, I believe the reason that it resulted in “third degree burns and skin grafts” was related to the fact that when a hot liquid soaks into clothing next to the skin, it will burn more intensely than if it contacts the skin and then runs off. Food (e.g. hot soup) in restaurants is frequently served hot enough to burn severely if soaked into clothing — even a boiling liquid (the hottest a water-based liquid can get) will not cause third-degree burns if not held against the skin by fabric. So the fact that she handled it unsafely IS relevant.

    But I’m not even arguing for zero culpability for McD’s. I’m arguing for the fact that when you add to the unsafe nature of an unsafe product by handling it in a way common sense would call unsafe, it is not 100% the producer’s fault if harm occurs.

  36. Thank you for your clear thinking and persistance in speaking out against unwarrented fear. A life worth living is a life with a certain level of risk. And beside who said that government agencies no best?

    Keep up the good work you are doing. We are looking for a hugh paradigm shift.

  37. @pentamom

    “The reason sleepwear supposedly has to be safer than daywear is that you don’t notice a fire right away when you’re sleeping, and in the case of a child, there’s no caregiver there in the same room to notice for you. That’s the logic behind it.”

    Well, that makes sense. Most of the rest of the world sleeps close to their children, but in some countries (like the US and Canada) we’ve had to invent something to keep our children “safe” instead of just sleeping in the same room as them. Dumb.

    On sort of related note, from another comment, 22 kids died or were burned in fires in a year?

    Far more die or are injured in cribs (and I’m not talking about SIDS) each year. Yet, everyone still seems super psyched to let their kids sleep in them!

  38. Well actually, that wasn’t the original logic behind the sleepwear standards. They were put in place to prevent kids from going up like chimney’s when their jammies caught fire before they went to bed, or first thing in the morning before they’d gotten dressed. They’re 40 year old laws, though, so I’m not surprised that the original reason has been forgotten. (The idea that the fabric your kids nightie is made of could make a difference in a house fire is really ridiculous, isn’t it?)

    Okay, so I went and looked, in the States, deaths from sleepwear related burns dropped from 60 per year to 4 after your standards were put in place in the early 70’s. This is a case where the implementation of consumer safety standards worked. It truly confuses me why people are so negative towards them. (Except for the fire-retardant chemicals in your kids pajamas without a warning label. That’s F’d up.)

    There are far better examples of the Nanny State that could have been used.

  39. When were the laws regarding smoke detectors implemented? Were the decrease in the number of deaths related to a greater use of smoke detectors or the chemicals in the pj’s? Maybe 40 year old laws need to be looked at to see if they’re even relevant anymore.

  40. J,
    Your points are very valid, and I find them quite interesting…

    But they’re being obscured by the fact that you have – more than once – referred to the creator of this site as “Lorraine” when her name is actually Lenore.

    This might seem like unnecessary nit-picky, but when you’re citing well-researched statistics to support your points, those arguments tend to lose a bit of credibility when some of the “facts” are wrong.

    Very interesting points, though – carry on! 🙂

  41. Oops… that should read “This might seem like unnecessary nit-picking”… Should proof my OWN stuff before submitting. D’oh!!

  42. Oh, crap, well, if it helps, I’m wickedly sleep deprived, hot here, small children not sleeping. I’ve been getting their names wrong fairly frequently.

    Very, very sorry Lenore, were the hell did I get Lorraine?

  43. I was wondering who Lorraine was.

  44. and, Thanks, E. Not nit-picky, getting peoples names right regardless of circumstances is important!

  45. “That’s outrageous, too, and I consider lawyers crying, “Negligence!” when there is none to be part of the problem, too.”

    Then you are ignorant. It is the job of a lawyer to advocate for their client, whomever it may be, and whatever their circumstances. It is the job of the court system to adjudicate the case. If the jury didn’t believe there was a reasonable way to prevent injury, they wouldn’t find for the plaintiffs.

    You don’t seem to understand how these laws come to be (usually a victim’s parent goes on a crusade, it isn’t necessarily a helicopter parent) or why a company would comply with the threat of litigation (seriously, are you going to sit on a jury and say that a company which ignored a regulation on flame retardant pajamas is not culpable in the burning of a child who wore those pajamas?)

    This is not a free range issue any more than clean water standards which prevented cholera outbreaks is a free range issue.

  46. I’d rather catch fire than wear something that is treated with some kind of flame-retardant.

  47. […] How the “Underwear Police” Story relates to Free-Range Kids Categories Ramblings […]

  48. I will be making my children’s night clothes, sheets, and apperantly underwear from day 1. On the nights we have a fire in the fire place I will simply ensure that they are neither smoking or flaming when I put them in bed. I will also be sure that my four year old does not put on a nightgown and then go to make the family banana’s foster. I will, grudingly, let them use the light switches, rather then giving a toddler candels to make their way up the (way too steep) stairs of our 1800s farm house. Somehow I think they will live. And if the sleepwear or underwear police come to arrest me, at least I will know that my child can take them with their flammable underwear of death, if the need arises.

  49. Well, I’m glad I finally understand why when I go to the fabric store, all of those nice flannel prints say “not intended for children’s sleepwear”. All this time I thought it was because it was the wrong fabric (I have issues knowing what fabrics to use for whatever I’m making) and the kids wouldn’t like it, but now that I get it, I won’t feel guilty about using it to make some cozy pajama pants.

  50. Yes, RobynHeud, I kick myself every time I remember I didn’t figure that out until I was past the point of making my kids jammies. Those flannels are so nice, and those plasticky “sleepwear fabrics” just were no fun to sew.

    Kate, even though J’s explained that my theory’s wrong, the fact that parents do or don’t sleep in the same room isn’t pertinent to what I said, because they wouldn’t be awake most of the time to notice the fire, even if they did sleep in the same room.

  51. If I remember correctly, Flammability standards started when kids used to wear old loose clothing or loose hand me down pajamas to sleep. The danger was not as they were sleeping, but when they woke up and played around as mom and dad slept or were busy. Add to the mix that most younger kids will not “stop drop and roll”, but run around screaming adding to the problem. This was also a problem with those popular “angel sleeve” robes that would catch on burners (am I showing my age?)

    I would worry more about liquid fabric softener than anything else. That’s actually very flammable. My kids wear tommorow’s outfits to bed, when they bother to wear anything at all. Sleepwear is coated in chemicals and/or is unreasonabely tight and uncomfortable.

  52. […] Undies moral: “Excess litigiousness is part of the whole shebang of dangerizing everything.” [Skenazy, Free-Range Kids] […]

  53. You like to hold a celebration with a barbeque? Starting from simple devices to the high-tech here. You just choose according to your needs, not a practical or a big size. Let’s look at the coverage together.

  54. But the children do no run around in their underwear or pajamas at a barbeque? I don’t think flame retardent underwear will protect children if their jeans and tee shirt (heaven forbid) are on fire…

    Personally, I like the Precautionary Principle. Before we start adding chemicals which may do good in our lives we need to determine if they can do harm. There is much discussion over the impact of these chemicals in our children’s young lives as they sleep in them and on them for years.

  55. corn pellet stoves

  56. Instantanious combustion could b another small reason for the flamamble retardent sleep wear also heat not flames can cause certain material to melt onto the kids skin so it helps with that too but I think respossible parenting helps more but we cant all be respossible i suppose, also if the clothing is loose enough it wont keep the heat in, over dressing or tight clothing does that. Plus its easier to make all or most sleep wear to the same standard, ciggarettes can cause nasty burn flame retardent stops silly sleepy smokers from killing themselves we can all say yes but if we didnt do this or if we did that blah blah blah would sop that but not everyone thinks like us, obviously majority dont otherwise demand wouldn’t be so high for this sought of clothing

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