Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Children's nightclothes and safety

6-minute read

Key facts

  • Burns from clothing that catches fire can cause serious injury and even death.
  • In Australia, there are special rules for children's nightclothes.
  • All children’s nightwear sold in Australia has a label with fire danger information, to help you make safer choices for your children.
  • The safest choice is close-fitting nightwear with a ‘low fire danger’ label.
  • When choosing clothes for babies and young children, it’s a good idea to consider safety, practicality and comfort, especially for fastenings and trims.

Why are there special guidelines about children’s nightclothes?

Burns from clothing that catches fire can cause serious injury and even death.

In Australia, there are special rules for children's nightclothes. The labels on nightclothes can help you make safer choices for your children. Hospital visits for children due to burns have significantly decreased since these rules were introduced.

What is the best fabric for children’s nightclothes?

It’s important to be aware that almost any fabric can burn.

Fabrics made with cotton and rayon burn more easily. Synthetic fibres such as nylon are slower to catch fire, but if they do, they melt and can stick to the skin. Silk and wool are more difficult to set on fire and then burn slowly.

Heavier fabrics are less likely to burn than fabrics with very loose fibres, fluffy or fuzzy fabrics, faux fur, chenille, corduroy, velvet and tassels.

If you sew your own clothes, consider using polyester. It does not burn as quickly as cotton and is suitable for nightwear. If you are using cotton, make close-fitting, ski-type pyjamas, and use polyester thread. You can also look for safety warnings on any commercial patterns you are considering using.

What is the best style for children’s nightclothes?

Long, loose-fitting clothing, such as nighties, pose a higher fire risk than close-fitting clothing. This is because they can easily swing away from the body and catch on fire.

According to Australian regulations it is for this reason, that close-fitting pyjamas, reduce the risk of catching fire compared with, loose-fitting nightwear. Ideally, choose close-fitting nightwear with cuffs around the legs and arms, whenever possible.

Understanding labels

There are 2 labels to assist you when choosing children’s clothing:

  • Low fire hazard label: This means the garment is a lower fire risk. It is either made of a fabric that burns more slowly, or that the garment is close fitting.
  • High fire hazard label: This means the garment is a high fire risk because loose clothing could be at risk from open fires or heaters. These clothes may be more suitable for summer rather than winter use.

Some garments are so flammable that they can’t be given a label and are not allowed to be sold in Australia.

Learn more about product safety standards for children's nightwear.

How can I prevent children’s nightclothes from catching alight?

Remember to keep your child away from all sources of fire, including:

  • open fires
  • radiators
  • heaters
  • BBQs
  • candles
  • lighters and matches
  • cigarettes

Teach your child that if their clothing does catch fire, they should: STOP, DROP, COVER face and ROLL.

When you use heaters in winter, or use open fireplaces, you need to be extra careful. Consider using a fireguard to reduce the risk.

What else should I consider when choosing clothing for babies and young children?

Many parents enjoy choosing stylish clothing for their babies and children.

When choosing clothing for your baby or young child, there are several things you should consider, including safety and practicality for daily use.


Some features in babies and children’s clothing may pose a risk of:

  • choking
  • injury from sharp edges or points
  • strangulation or entrapment
  • danger from other hazards, such as unsafe dyes or chemicals

When considering clothing for your child, here are some things to think about:

  • Are all small parts or trims, such as pom poms, buttons or press-studs ('snap fasteners’), firmly attached?
  • Does the clothing have any drawstrings, cords or bows that could pose a strangulation risk?
  • Is the fabric good quality? Does it have a ‘chemical’ smell?
  • Does the fabric ‘shed’?


Here are some tips for choosing practical, comfortable clothing for you child:

  • Consider breathable, natural fibres such as wool.
  • All-in-one outfits (‘jumpsuits’ or ‘onesies’) will help keep your baby warm, stop their tummy from being exposed and allow easy access for nappy Look for outfits with press-studs at the crotch or down the legs to make nappy and outfit changes even easier.
  • Look for jumpers with a boat or envelope shaped necklines. These are easier to put over your baby’s head than those with a smaller crew neck. You can also consider jackets with a front closure, such as snaps or buttons.
  • Make sure socks aren’t too tight.
  • Most children don’t need shoes until they start to walk. For older children, choose comfortable shoes that fit well with good grip.
  • Look for bibs with a Velcro closure — strings are more likely to get tangled.

Resources and support

  • Kidsafe has the latest information about child safety.
  • This CHOICE guide has more tips for choosing suitable baby clothes.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

Newborn clothes & dressing a newborn | Raising Children Network

How many clothes does a newborn need? And what newborn clothes are best? Get answers to these questions and more in our guide to dressing a newborn.

Read more on website

Children playing outside in all weathers | Raising Children Network

Playing outside in all weather teaches children about how their environment feels and how their body responds. This video explains.

Read more on website

Babies in cold weather

It's important to be aware of how much clothing and the type of clothing your baby will need to keep comfortably warm in cold weather.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Cloth nappies & disposable nappies | Raising Children Network

What nappies should you use for your baby? Our guide takes you through the pros and cons of cloth nappies and disposable nappies to help you decide.

Read more on website

Dressing baby in the right clothes for bed | Raising Children Network

Babies sleep well when they’re not too hot or cold. Dress babies in enough clothes to keep them warm without coverings, or try a safe infant sleeping bag.

Read more on website

Children's nightwear | Product Safety Australia

Children can suffer severe burns if their nightwear catches fire. Make sure you check the clothing label for information about fire danger.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Preschool: practical tips for settling in | Raising Children Network

Settling in at preschool means new routines for your child and for you. Get practical information about arriving, leaving, clothing, food, safety and more.

Read more on website

Scabies treatment & causes: kids & teens | Raising Children Network

Scabies is an itchy rash that shows up as threadlike tracks on the skin. Children with scabies need to see a GP. You’ll need to wash clothes and bedding.

Read more on website

Strangulation & suffocation prevention | Raising Children Network

Child suffocation and strangulation risks include clothing, baby equipment, cords, hanging mobiles and plastic bags. Simple precautions can reduce risk.

Read more on website

Baby genitals: care and cleaning | Raising Children Network

Keeping your baby’s genitals clean helps to prevent infections. To clean baby genitals, use warm water, mild cleanser and a cotton ball or soft cloth.

Read more on website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.