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Children's nightclothes and safety

2-minute read

Burns from clothing that catches fire can cause serious injury and even death. There are special rules for children's nightclothes, and labels on them that can help you make safer choices for your children.

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 they 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 very quickly and is suitable for nightwear. If you are using cotton, make close-fitting, ski-type pyjamas, and use polyester thread.

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

Remember to keep your child away from fires, radiators, heaters, BBQs, candles, lighters and matches. 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 very careful. Burning candles and cigarettes are also dangerous and can set clothing alight.

Understanding labels

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

  • Low fire hazard label: This means that 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 a high fire risk garment — because of risk from open fires or heaters it would be better for summer use 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.

What are the safest nightclothes for children?

Tight fitting clothing is less likely to catch fire than long, loose clothing. Choose nightwear with cuffs around the legs and arms.

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

Last reviewed: January 2021

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