Well, the weather has finally gotten cold here in Cary, NC, so its been time to break out the kids' winter pajamas. For David, this presents little problem, as the government-mandated tight-fitting pajamas still give his skeletal frame plenty of breathing room. As for Alex, our robust-bodied future linebacker, squeezing his arms and legs into long-sleeve pajamas, even a size 7 instead of his typical daywear size 6, is not a pretty picture.
Those of you non-parents out there may not be aware of the ludicrous rules governing children's sleepwear. They have to be either a) made of a flame retardant fabric (i.e, quick-to-pill polyester), or b) made to wear “tight-fitting.” The idea back in the 1970's when this law was first passed was that too many kids were catching fire in their pajamas. Um, maybe I'm insufficiently concerned about my children catching on fire, but give me a break. Seems you are much more likely to catch fire in your ordinary clothes when you are awake and about and doing things. I'm not sure of all the details, but this has become a classic example of interest politics as narrow, highly-invested interests determine what my kid can wear to bed and there's nothing I can do about it.
For a while, there was a way around this. A number of foreign and boutique brands were in the business of selling comfortable cotton “loungewear.” They had to be sold with a tag that send “not intended for sleeping,” but then a parent could make the choice to put their child at risk of fire in the comfortable cotton jammies. Snapdragonsbaby.com actually sold a fair amount of “loungewear” and, of course, Kim managed to find very comfortable cotton “loungewear” for the boys to sleep in (and here's where I say there's nothing like Petit Bateau pajamas, I wish I had my own).
So, all was well, but then the Federal Trade Commission which is responsible for pajama enforcement actually had a crackdown. No longer, can you sell “loungewear” that has matching tops and bottoms like pajamas. They actually have a very broad, catch-all definition of sleepwear which allows them to eliminate this pajama black market. From the CPSC guidelines:
To determine whether a garment is sleepwear, the Commission considers:
1. The nature fo the garment and its suitability for sleeping or activities related to sleeping
2. How the garment is promoted and distributed, and
3. The likelihood that the garment will be used by children for sleeping and activities related to sleeping in a substantial number of cases.
With that definition, so much for sneaking behind the government's back with the “loungwear” market. I asked Kim about importing some nice loungewear from another country and she informed that this was illegal and that companies would get in big trouble with the FTC for trying to do so.
Anyway, we'll just have to find some slightly less tight-fitting PJ's for Alex. And lest you think I'm being cavalier of my children or yours catching on fire, I'm not. The only good article (its pretty short and quite interesting) I could find on-line addressing the issue explains that there is an extremely low risk, especially with modern appliances that don't have open flames. We're still stuck with regulations created when their were open pilot lights all over homes (and surely kids daytime clothes caught fire, too).
Anyway, even liberals can get annoyed by excessive government regulation .
P.S. If you have not taken my 2-minute blog survey yet, please do so.