Thursday, 11 January 2018

Regulation revisited?...

My Grandmother - Child Safety Entrepreneur

In the 1960's after a spate of child deaths from nighties catching fire my Grandmother setup a business making and selling non-flamable nighties - she did this because she was horrified at the accidents, she was skilled as a seamstress and she wanted to make a living.

Government Intervention

In the mid 60s the UK parliament caught up with what was happening and introduced laws on the flammability of children's nighties.

Laws relating to fire retardant fabrics for clothes and furnishings have been updated many times since, here are some of the more recent.

But it is not cost free

However this is not a zero cost issue - flame retardant treatment is expensive and significantly puts up the price of treated fabrics, here is a mumsnet discussion on the horrendous price of childrens cotton nighties...

And there is health and the environment

Also it has now been found that some of the flame retardant treatments use chemicals that  may be damaging to people health and to the environment.

Times change, homes have few naked flames today

Another consideration since the start of this issue is that houses now have far fewer naked flames and sources of ignition than they did back in the 1960's. Houses tend not to have open fires (unless for display), they are not lit by gas, candles are not used for lighting to bed etc. In fact, in a modern house apart from gas hobs (and for a cup of tea a kettle is more likely to be used anyway) the only naked flames are likely to be from scented candles and old-school cigarettes/lighters.

So the question should be whether the legislation is still appropriate and could it actually be cut. If course there is a knee-jerk reaction against removing something that supposedly makes children safer, but in a science based, evidence driven world it really should be looked at from scratch...


I started on this subject because an EUphile was giving the EU credit for making childrens nighties in the UK safe. Which is clearly not true as the UK had already started on this in the 1960's before we joined, but I also found a comment in the Mumsnet discussion (linked to above) which says...

Northanter Sat 22-Oct-16 20:26:33
Europe has different flame retardency regulations for nightwear. It is possible you could buy some from an online retailer in, say, France, and get them sent.

But sometimes you come up against regulations against importing them altogether.
If you or any acquaintance are planning a trip to Europe, you can ask them to get you one (or several, in lots of sizes!) - you can usually get them pretty cheaply in H&M or C&A in France and Belgium at least, probably elsewhere too.

So suggesting that the UK laws have been stricter than the EU laws all along!

ps. And they have similar discussions  in the USA...