The father of a Te Awamutu boy who suffered third degree burns when his Chinese-made pyjamas caught alight bought the outfit because it carried a label that said "low fire danger".
Three-year-old Jack Livingstone spent three weeks in hospital and had skin taken from his leg to graft on to his back and upper arm after his Superman singlet, also made in China, and flanelette pyjamas caught alight.
His father, Mike Livingstone, said the accident happened early on Sunday morning, July 8.
"Our 13-year-old daughter always gets up early, goes into the lounge and turns on the TV and the gas heater. Suddenly we heard the kids making a hell of a commotion and she was yelling `Jack's on fire, Jack's on fire.'
"My wife and I jumped up and he was running towards us with flames coming out of him."
Mr Livingstone spoke out about his son's experience after learning TV3's Target programme will tonight reveal children's clothing made in China and sold here contained the chemical formaldehyde at levels 500 times higher than is safe.
He was not sure whether Jack's pyjamas - which had been washed at least 10 times - contained formaldehyde and has sent them to the Commerce Commission for testing.
Mr Livingstone said he believed his son was sitting on a ledge in front of a gas fireplace.
He said the fireplace was designed so that the flames were at the back of the fireplace and Jack was unable to reach them.
"I believe the pyjamas got hot and before Jack felt the heat himself, just ignited."
Mr Livingstone's wife Louise got in the shower with Jack before the ambulance arrived and he was operated on that afternoon. Jack suffered burns to 15 per cent of his body and in some places nerves were exposed.
A temporary skin was placed on the affected area and remained there for two weeks to promote new skin growth. However, the treatment was not successful and skin grafts from Jack's leg were needed.
Jack was this week to receive a pressure suit he will need to wear 23 hours a day for two years to reduce scarring.
"The thing is, he's lucky," Mr Livingstone said.
"If we had not been close by in the house, he would have been totally burnt. The pyjama top completely disintegrated, there was no smouldering just flames."
Jack is now recovering well.
"He runs around as if it's just another day. Kids are very resilient. The worst thing for him is all the medication he has to take, he gets sick of it."
Following the accident, Mr Livingstone contacted Standards New Zealand and was then directed to the Commerce Commission which is responsible for enforcing safety standards.
The commission is having the pyjamas independently tested.
"Once the results of the tests are known, the commission will decide whether further action is required," a Commerce Commission spokeswoman said.
The pyjamas were bought at The Warehouse which has since pulled them from the shelves after a second boy suffered burns.
Mr Livingstone said he was speaking out because he didn't want this happening to any other child.
"To me if there's a risk about clothes brought into New Zealand we need to sharpen up on our standards and checking systems.
"What does low fire danger mean? You wouldn't think it would mean that something would just ignite."
The formaldehyde concerns follow recalls of Chinese toothpaste when it was discovered to contain a toxic substance and 1.5 million toys made in China by Mattel for having excessive lead in their paint.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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