They are clothing in which the materials that is made from can catch fire easily. Flammable clothing became public in the 1940s after an epidemic of children who sustained leg burns caused by the ignition of Gene Audry cowboy suits, these suits were highly flammable. Soon this was reinforced when girls sustained burns that resulted from wearing cotton sweater which were highly flammable (torch sweaters). In 1953 the Flammability Fabrics Act was passed in the USA that regulates the manufacture and sale of wearing appeal of highly flammable clothing.
Among common flammable clothing for children are pajamas, gowns, and bathrobes. Factors that affect the speed at which clothes ignite and the rate at which they burn after being ignited include:
- The type of material it’s made of: cotton burns fast and is destroyed completely within seconds, synthetic fiber such as nylon has a lower risk of burning but it will melt and stick to the skin. For wool it burns very slowly and doesn’t ignite. A fabric that is made from plant fibers which is chemically treated has flame retardant characters.
- A fabric that is heavier and has a tighter weave has a higher flame resistance with a slower burn rate.
- Pile surfaces have very loose fibers with significant air spaces between them, eg fuzzy fabrics, faux fur and others. In this type the surface easily ignites and the flames spread quickly across the brushed surface.
- The design of the cloth: tight fitting clothes are less dangerous than long loose fitting clothes as long loose fitting clothes can swing away from the body and catch fire.
To protect children from being burned:
- When buying clothes and sleepwear for children look for a label with low fire risk.
- Avoid buying clothes that can catch fire easily.
- Make sure that there is a protective guard around places where there are heaters and fires.
- Children should be monitored and prevented from playing with candles, matches and lighters.
- Children should be kept away from any fire source such as heaters.
- In case clothes your child is wearing catch fire, Stop, drop and roll.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.