The UK has stringent nightwear fire safety laws but it's
important that the public
remains fully aware of the precautions to take when purchasing
and wearing nightwear.
This information provides background on a number of issues
including people most at risk and why; clothes which pose
particular risks; sources of ignition; current legislation;
accident prevention and current research into flame retardant
is most at risk and why?
Children and the elderly are at the greatest risk from
nightwear fires, and females are more than twice as likely as
males to suffer. The reason for the high number of women and
girls suffering burns varies according to age but is most
commonly due to the type of nightwear they can wear such as
flimsy, free-flowing, nightdresses that can more easily catch
light and spread flame more quickly than with tighter-fitting
The most frequent sources of ignition for clothing fires
are: cookers, particularly open flame gas cookers and hobs,
gas fires, open fires, matches, cigarette lighters and
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 place a general
overall safety requirement on all clothing and, for nightwear,
there are specific national regulations.
The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 require children’s
night-dresses, dressing gowns, bath robes and other similar
garments to satisfy flammability performance requirements as
specified in British Standard 5722. These requirements are
expressed as a rate of flame spread and involve following
strict testing procedures. Items such as children's pyjamas,
babies' garments and adult nightwear do not have to meet these
requirements but must carry the specified label according to
whether they do or do not. The precise wording of the warning
label is specified in the regulations, including the type,
colour and size of lettering, along with options for
Manufactures of pyjamas, baby's garments and cotton terry
towelling bathrobes who choose to
meet the flammability requirements of
the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 must include a label
with the wording ‘LOW FLAMMABILITY TO BS 5722' or ‘KEEP AWAY
baby's garments and cotton terry towelling bathrobes
which are not flame resistant must include a label with the
wording, 'KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE'.
Please note, however, that a
label which reads 'LOW FLAMMABILITY' does not indicate a
completely flameproof garment, i.e. all clothing should be
kept away from fire.
You should follow the washing instructions on flame resistant
garments, which include not washing them at more than
50o C and checking the suitability of your washing
Advertisements for nightwear in newspapers, magazines,
catalogues etc, which contain any direct ordering facility,
must include information about the garments' flammability
Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 are enforced by Trading
Standards. Anyone who fails to comply with the Regulations is
liable to imprisonment, a fine or both.
lighters and matches well away from your clothing and the same
goes for candles.
services and police throughout the country have schemes for
school-aged children which, besides informing them about
general prevention and fire escape routes, also teaches the
'STOP, DROP AND ROLL' rule if they ever find themselves in the
situation where they have to help someone whose clothing has
caught fire - even themselves.
means don't panic and run about – this will make the fire
to the floor and
until the flames are extinguished
First aid tips for dealing with burns
Immediately run cold water over the burn and then for at least
skin can swell so take off any tight belts or jewellery but do
not remove any burned clothing stuck to the skin.
• Cover the
burned area with a clean, smooth cloth (like a pillowcase) or
cling film, to keep out infection until it can be properly
the burn is very small, go to hospital. If the burn is
serious, or the person is (or was) unconscious, dial 999.
seriously burned person should not eat or drink after the
accident, in case there is a need for anaesthetic at hospital.