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Children’s nightwear labelling to be changed

Children’s nightwear labelling to be changed


16 April, 2008

Children’s nightwear labelling to be changed

Product safety regulations for children’s nightwear labelling will be amended and significant changes to the labels of some types of nightwear will be made, announced Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard today.

Judith Tizard called for a review of the regulations following two children suffering serious injury when their pyjamas caught alight in 2007. One child died as a result of burns.

At the time, an investigation undertaken by the Commerce Commission showed that both sets of pyjamas met the current product safety labelling requirements.

A Ministry of Consumer Affairs survey found that there was confusion amongst consumers about what the labelling on nightwear meant. “There seems to be a misconception that if something is labelled low fire danger then it will not burn, and this is not the case,” said Judith Tizard.

The new requirements aim to provide a clearer message to consumers, so that they can make safer choices when they purchase children’s nightwear – and also so they don’t underestimate the risks to their children when they are near heaters or flame in their nightwear.

Currently, category 1, 2 and 3 nightwear is labelled “LOW FIRE DANGER”. The proposed new labels will have categories 2 and 3 carry a warning that will explain that the material is not heat or flame resistant and will indicate that the garment should be worn snug fitting to reduce risk.

A Standards New Zealand review committee is also considering using the same wording, as that developed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, for incorporation as a New Zealand only amendment to the Children’s Nightwear Standard. The proposed new label for category 2 and 3 garments was released for public comment and submissions are currently being reviewed.

“I understand that this work is progressing well and should be completed in the near future,” said Judith Tizard.

Labels required under the new regulations will not be evident in shops until winter 2009 as most retailers have already ordered this year’s winter stock. “This is why it is so important to get the message out to people now, that low fire danger does not mean no fire danger. We want to educate people to ensure that no more kids get harmed,” said Judith Tizard.

“Kids need to stay a metre from the heater – regardless of what they are wearing. This is a minimum rule that we must all follow,” she said.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs will be working with the New Zealand Fire Service and a number of other organisations on a public awareness campaign. Its aim is to ensure that parents and caregivers understand that children’s nightwear is not fire resistant or fire proof, and that they need to be vigilant whenever children are near heaters or fires this winter.

ENDS

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