Babies may be small, but as most seasoned parents can attest, they certainly seem to require a lot of stuff. For new parents as well as for those who have been around the crib a few times, baby product choice can be downright overwhelming, especially when you consider that many of the products you buy for your baby can impact her health, safety, and comfort. If making the safest, most eco-sound purchases possible for your baby is a priority for you, here are some helpful guidelines. As innocuous as they may seem, not all pajamas or baby bottles are created equal.
Although it might seem like crying is your baby's primary activity, most infants spend a high percentage of each day asleep. Chances are, your little one's wardrobe is heavy on the PJs! But how do they stack up when it comes to comfort and safety? The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires children's sleepwear to be flame resistant and self-extinguishing. If it's labeled "sleepwear," the CPSC has approved it.
The CPSC recognizes two categories of sleepwear. The first is standard sleepwear, made of flame-resistant fabric. The second category is sleepwear that meets "tight-fit" guidelines. This means that it is tapered at the waist, wrists, and ankles, doesn't have lengthy trim, such as lace, and is close fitting all the way through. Your basic long johns, for example. Tight sleepwear is less likely to contact fire, and there's not much oxygen between the garment and the wearer's skin to feed a flame. This category of sleepwear can be as untreated and all natural as you want. However, you have to be conscientious about ensuring a good fit. Even if you routinely buy your child's other clothes a few sizes too big to accommodate growth, sleepwear should fit properly at all times.
To identify sleepwear that meets snug-fit requirements, read packaging and hangtags. If you see, "For child's safety, garment should fit snugly. This garment is not flame resistant. Loose-fitting garment is more likely to catch fire," the garment has met the guidelines. Further, it'll sport a permanent tag that says, "Wear snug-fitting. Not flame resistant."
Unconvinced by the notion that snug-fitting sleepwear provides a measure of safety, some fire-safety groups are fighting for elimination of the tight-fitting category. But the CPSC notes that neither the flame retardant nor the tight-fitting type of sleepwear will protect a child from a burning house or bed, although both provide a measure of protection from a small open flame.