Thursday, December 25, 2008

Flammable pyjamas

What Sophie wanted for her birthday last month was pyjamas. I didn't think it would be that difficult. She wanted nice loose-fitting sleepwear in natural fibres. Something looser-fitting than the Hannas we've been buying for years. I think the Hannas are great, but Sophie prefers a looser fit.

Alas, it seemed that everything, even "long johns" and "loungewear," is now governed by restrictions about children's sleepwear flammability. Kids' sleepwear either has to be made from polyester or acrylic (petroleum-based synthetics that have a penchant for melting into a burning liquid mass when heated) treated with a flame-retardant chemical of questionable safety, or if made from cotton or other natural fibres must be tight-fitting and body-hugging. Sophie wanted loose cotton PJs. Tricky.

Children caught in house fires in the middle of night tend to die of smoke inhalation, not burns from flaming sleepwear. And I'm not convinced that an extra couple of inches of cuff width on the left side of one's leg is going to increase one's chance of catching fire. And why only children? Adults are perfectly entitled to have saggy-butt pyjama bottoms and to flaunt them near wood stoves.

I decided I was comfortable honouring Sophie's request. But it wasn't easy. I searched and searched. I was almost forced to clean the yarn and paperwork off my sewing table and set to work with needle and thread. Only lack of access to a fabric store prevented that desperate measure. Eventually, though, I stumbled across kids' yoga wear at Land's End. Cool! The colours don't look a whole lot like sleepwear, but the stuff is soft, 100% cotton and comfortable with lovely flatlock seams, and even the shirt cuffs are loose. It took until well after her birthday for me to get the stuff, but it's a perfect Christmas Eve pyjama outfit.

She even loaded the wood stove just before bed, wearing her loose-fitting flammable cotton pyjamas ... rather than the loose-fitting flammable cotton clothing she wears during the day when she loads the wood stove. Living on the edge.


  1. This really made me laugh! I have always wondered at the logic behind these rules, so odd. Have a very merry, fire-warmed Christmas!

  2. Hilarious! I was chuckling away, too!

  3. I recently bought my 2 yr old pajamas from Garnet Hill and the sleeves on the top were way too skinny and he is not a chubby kid. It is a little ridiculous.

  4. It's the chemicals that bother me! Truly, what are the risks of a house fire happening? Slim, yes? But just to be "safe" we coat ALL of our kids in chemicals that may have unknown health repercussions? Yeesh.


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