Fire safety warnings on children's nightwear are now compulsory after the death of one young boy and serious injuries to at least four others.
Retailers who fail to ensure the correct labels appear on pyjamas, nighties and other sleepwear face prosecution by the Commerce Commission from this month.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry regulations were introduced after several children were burnt when their pyjamas caught fire.
Four-year-old Corwin Bridge, of Red Beach, near Orewa, died of his burns in September 2007 after 2 1/2 months in Middlemore Hospital. His pyjamas caught fire when he sat near a gas heater at a family member's house.
At least four more children under 10 were burnt in similar accidents in the four years before the regulations were passed. The new colour-coded labels were phased in from July last year, but became compulsory on all sleepwear at the beginning of this month.
Hamilton boy Jack Livingstone, 5, was badly burnt when his Chinese-made cotton pyjamas caught fire in 2007. He had been sitting in front of a gas heater watching television with his sister when the fabric ignited.
His road to recovery began with skin grafts and he wore a pressure suit for 23 hours a day for two years.
He was able to switch to a less restrictive pressure sleeve just before he started school this year.
Jack's father, Mike Livingstone, said staff at Waikato Hospital Burns Unit had done "a fantastic job".
Jack had bounced back from his injuries and was not expected to have continuing problems, Mr Livingstone said yesterday.
"The burns have healed to skin colour, it's a little bit rough from the skin grafts, but overall he's just getting on with it."
Mr Livingstone said the new labelling was "a great idea, as long as every retailer abides by it".
The labels come in three colours white, orange and red and are coded according to their safety level, based on the garment's style and fabric.
Jack's pyjamas were bought from The Warehouse and were labelled a low fire risk. Under the new system, they would have an orange label. They were withdrawn from sale after a second boy suffered burns.
The Warehouse would not comment on the new regulations yesterday.
TAG! YOU'RE WEARING A FIRE SAFETY GUIDE!
WHITE: This label means the garment is a lower fire risk. It is either made of fabric that burns more slowly such as wool or is close-fitting.
ORANGE: Label denotes garment made of a higher-risk fabric such as cotton, but is designed to be worn snug-fitting to reduce fire risk.
RED: The garment is a higher fire risk, either because of its fabric or because it is loose-fitting. Such items are better to be worn in summer than winter.
The safety regulations apply to all businesses involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of children's nightwear.
Individuals who breach the rules can be fined up to $60,000 corporations up to $200,000 under the Fair Trading Act.
The ministry urges parents to remember the "metre from the heater" rule to avoid fire danger.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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