Monday, March 26, 2012

Missing Pieces: Part 1 - Meeting mandatory safety standards

Source: Soft Autumn Pink Leaves
by Aussie Girl takes Pics - Vivienne Ward Photography 
Autumn has arrived in Australia, the mornings are becoming crisp and in the evenings donnas are being pulled up.  Its also the time when retailers release their winter ranges, including winter sleepwear.

Are you planning to head out to Spotlight this week? Have you got flannelette and blank Tees on your shopping list?  Before you do we strongly suggest that you read the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Mandatory Standards for Nightware for children.

Stop and be informed!

In simple terms it states; 
All nightwear needs to be tested by 'anyone in the business of supplying nightwear for children'.

What does that mean?
It applies to you if you are making or distributing or selling nightwear.  It is not up to the fabric manufacture to test their fabrics.  Most of you will be aware that on most rolls of fabric the manufacturer will state that it is  'not intended for children's sleepwear'.

What about those who say 'just call it a different name'?
Don't believe them! Calling it a 'Lounge Suit' is the same thing by any name.

If you read Appendix C of the Standard it notes that they take into account when determining whether or not a garment is classified as sleepwear under the Standard. They also note in the last point of this appendix,  that labels like 'intended for daywear' are irrelevant. This point also applied to the use of terms like loungewear and other names used to circumvent the law.

So generally speaking, all garments sold as sleepwear, or would be interpreted as sleepwear, need a garment assessment.

What does testing involve?
Testing looks at the shape and size of the garment (length and width of sleeves, legs etc). Garments made from non-pile fabrics (eg. ordinary cotton) don't require the fabric to be tested for flammability, however anything with a pile (eg flannel, minkee, fleece) requires flammability testing.

The icing on the cake 
There are also rules that apply to embellishments, which includes ribbons, ties, appliques. Don't despair you can still make sleepwear, you just need to comply with the standard.

Why should I bother, who does this? 
If you are caught not complying with the mandatory safety standard you could be charged with a criminal offence with a maximum fine of $220,000 for an individual.

Canberra based handmade business Little Toot Creations gets all of their sleepwear tested.  Back in 2010 Bec, the owner, was alerted to the mandatory safety standards. Instead of deciding to circumvent the system or give up on her dream she decided to get her PJs tested.

To find out more go to Nightware for Children section on the Product Safety Australia Website (


Further reading:
  1. Online trader fined for selling flammable infant sleep bags
  2. ACCC takes action against Cotton On over children’s nightwear
  3. Dimmeys penalised $400,000 for selling children's dressing gowns which failed labelling standard

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