My Pajama Anxiety, Relieved At Last! or, Why are my kid’s clothes toxic?!

Yes, I have anxiety about baby pajamas. How could I possibly have anxiety about the cutest thing in the entire world, besides an actual baby? It’s pretty weird. Consumer reports explains that, “To protect children from burns, CPSC regulations dictate that children’s sleepwear sizes 9 months to size 14 must either be made of flame-resistant fabric, which doesn’t ignite easily and must self-extinguish quickly when removed from a flame, or the clothing must fit snugly because loose garments are more likely to catch fire.” Why does it start at 9 months? Because a chemical called chlorinated Tris was proven to cause cancer in tiny babies, and it was banned from baby pajamas in the 1970s. I’m still not clear on why the chemicals that are carcinogenic to a 6-month-old baby are considered safe for a 9-month-old. Prepared for this transition, I bought Walt some NOT-pajama matching tops and bottoms from the Swedish company Polarn O. Pyret, whose “eco” line is able to meet high European safety standards by simply not calling itself sleepwear, thus outsmarting US flame retardant laws that would destroy that status with toxins. Another company that makes a conscious effort to give parents this option is Hannah Andersson, but until very recently, I thought that this was an American company that only made expensive dresses. Nope! Not only do they make clothes that are not dresses (much of their stock is actually labeled “baby” or “kid” because it is entirely gender neutral) but they also make “long johns” that are both organic and toxin-free. This is because they have big bright yellow tags on them that warn parents to make sure the clothes fit “snugly” to protect from fire. Even more exciting (for me) is the fact that there is an outlet about 25 minutes from my house! Full-price, PO.P and “hannah” pjs can set you back over $40. And I can’t do it. Nope. No way. But I caught a sale and snagged some PO.P clothes for Walter and this outlet near me is pretty darn awesome! In fact, I did a good deed and bought “long johns” for no more than five parents today; they were marked down to $18 (from $40ish) at the outlet. We are all in a Facebook group together where the clothes get resold and traded when kids outgrow them. I am so dedicated to the toxin-free pajama cause that Walt and I shopped for two hours, selflessly spending other peoples’ money on adorable strips and Christmas patterns (with some dresses, leggings, tees and cute accessories thrown in there) and purchasing just one set for ourselves. It is white with blue trim and has big, brightly-colored trucks on it. Best of all? It is one piece and opens and closes with a zipper! All the cute with none of the cancer!

This garment is NOT flame resistant! (Wait. What? Why should it be?)
This garment is NOT flame resistant! (Wait. What? Why should it be?)

We don’t need more than one pair at the moment, because Walt often sleeps in wool pants or leggings that act as cloth diaper covers. That is the subject for another post–and I have had one planned for months. Oh, how I love the wool/cloth combination! Oh, how I love the all-natural-ness of it all! Here’s the thing: it’s not because I’m a snob about labels. I just feel a teeny bit lighter, knowing that nothing on his little body is made from anything linked to the word “cancer” in my reading. You may scoff and call me neurotic. I don’t actually believe that I am protecting my child from cancer, full stop. But feel better when I can pronounce the ingredients in his “sleepwear.”

Oh, and if you’re still confused about how some pajamas are going to do anyone a lot of good in a fire, especially on a baby in a crib–me, too! I’d rather take a chance on the big danger than expose my child, every single night, to a small amount of a chemical mixture that is definitely dangerous. Also: we do not smoke in the house or, you know, at all, and don’t really burn candles, let alone leave them burning while we sleep… I just don’t see the need for this law. If your kid is wearing polyester Disney sleepwear as I type this (it’s late) I don’t judge you–my niece has loved the same nightgown with The Princesses on it for years. It is absurdly small on her, now, and falling apart. She adores it. There are toxins everywhere. This one happens to have gotten under my skin, so to speak.

Sweet relief–I just have to wait for a sale at the outlet, and we’re good until he’s in junior high. But for the sake of my newly reduced anxiety, let’s not consider that future. Let’s just enjoy the sleeping babies everywhere. And ogle the cuteness:

A pile of pajamas! Ours are on top. The rest are going to other lucky kids.
A pile of pajamas! Ours are on top. The rest are going to other lucky kids.

One Comment

  1. Leah Marie said:

    RIGHT??!?! Because a magic pair of chemical laden pajamas will save your baby in a fire. I’ve always been confused by this.

    November 9, 2013

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