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What Are the Regulations on Children’s Sleepwear in the US?

According to the US Fire Statistics, more than half of all home fires occur between 10 PM and 6 AM when most of us are sound asleep. This is the very reason why the US Consumer Products and Safety Commission issued specific regulations on children’s sleepwear. But what are the laws exactly? 

The Code of Federal Regulations rules that children’s sleepwear and loungewear should be flame resistant and self-extinguish if it catches fire from a candle, match, lighter, or similar item.

The US Regulations on Children’s Sleepwear

As defined in the Code of Federal Regulations in 16 CFR Part 1615 and 1616, children’s sleepwear is intended to be worn primarily for sleeping or any activities related to sleeping. (Source: CPSC)

Further on, there are determinants if the article of clothing is sleepwear:

  • The nature of the garment is suitable for sleeping or sleeping-related activities.
  • How are the garments are promoted and distributed?
  • The likelihood that the garment will be used by children primarily for sleeping or activities related to sleeping.

The two regulations, Part 1615 and 1616, are similar, except for the sizing of the sleepwear. 1615 refers to sleepwear sized above nine months up to 6X, while 1616 refers to sleepwear sized 7X up to 14X. In these regulations, sleepwear is required to:

  • Pass certain flammability tests.
  • Be tight-fitting as defined by specified dimensions.

The flammability test is designed to ensure the safety of children if the garment catches fire. It should pass several requirements as dictated by the test criteria of the regulations. (Source: Cornell Law)

  • Char Length – the distance from the lower edge of the garment exposed to the flame to the end of the tear or void in the charred, burned, or damaged area.
  • Afterglow – the continuation of glowing of parts of the garment after flaming has stopped.

Sleepwear should be tight fitting to lessen the oxygen between the child’s skin and the garment and avoid feeding the flame. To determine tight-fitting sleepwear, it should meet the following requirements:

  • As discussed in the regulation, the garment should not exceed the maximum dimensions specified for the chest, waist, seat, upper arm, thigh, wrist, or ankle.
  • Have no ornament or trim which extends more than ¼ inch from the point where it is attached.
  • Have sleeves that taper from the shoulder to the ends of the sleeves.
  • Have pant legs that taper from the waist to the end of the legs.
  • If the sleepwear is 1-piece, it should taper from the chest down to the waist and the seat up to the core.
  • Bear a permanent label stating the size.
  • Bear an on the hangtag that loose-fitting garments are more likely to catch fire. (Source: CPSC)

Marketing Responsibilities

To further safeguard children’s safety against their sleepwear accidentally catching fire, retailers, distributors, and wholesalers are required to:

  • Refrain from marketing or promoting children’s wear as sleepwear if it did not meet the children’s sleepwear standards or is not intended nor suitable for use as a sleepwear.
  • Advertise fabrics and garments that meet the sleepwear standards in a different catalog as opposed to garments that look like sleepwear to avoid confusion.
  • Create notices or warnings the point out the differences of types of fabrics and garments, specifically if they are sleepwear or not.

Avoid advertising garments or fabrics that do not comply with the regulation in a manner that may cause the consumer to see the item as sleepwear. (Source: CPSC)

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