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Choose kids' nightwear with care
The risk your child faces of suffering a serious burn increases when they are wearing loose-fitting clothing that can easily brush against candles, stoves, heaters or fireplaces and ignite.
Nightwear – which is often oversized – tends to fall into this category, meaning the most risky time for fire-related accidents and injuries involving clothing tends to be in the early morning or late evening.
When buying PJs, nighties or dressing gowns for their kids, parents are advised to look out for snug-fitting garments without frills or loose flowing sleeves.
Garments should also be clearly labelled ‘low fire danger’. Since March 2008 standards have been in place for children’s nightwear which make it mandatory for easily flammable clothing to be labelled ‘high fire danger’.
However, all parents should realise that there is no such thing as ‘fire safe fabric’ (this is a myth). Once ignited, some fabrics, including cotton fabrics, can burn rapidly.
Another risk factor is lack of awareness: young children do not readily recognise the need to steer clear of open flames, heat sources or other hazards.
Using a fire screen or guard around not just open fires but radiators and gas heaters is common sense, as is teaching your child to stay at least a metre away.
The Victorian Burns Prevention Partnership (VBPP) is currently circulating a newsletter around the state to maternal and child health centres and other municipal centres, containing a range of tips and information.
VBPP is collaboration between CFA, MFB, The Alfred Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.