Fire rules for nightwear may go: Safety code for children's clothing under review in government drive to cut red-tape 'burden' on business

THE GOVERNMENT is considering scrapping regulations governing the fire safety of children's nightclothes.

A leaked letter from the Consumer Safety Unit at the Department of Trade and Industry to retailers, clothing manufacturers and other industry bodies, asks for their reaction to such a move.

The letter, dated 30 June 1993, was sent as part of the Government's initiative to encourage manufacturing industry by removing red tape. Other regulations being reviewed are believed to include package holiday safeguards and furniture standards.

The nightwear letter asks:

Are you satisfied that this regulation has achieved what was intended?

Do you think that this regulation in its present form is still needed? Should any of the provisions of the regulation be amended and, if so, how?

What does compliance with this regulation cost your business? Indicate the nature of the costs, as recurring or non-recurring elements and please quantify these, if possible.

The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations require nightdresses, nightshirts and dressing gowns for children aged from 3 months to 13 years to be made of slower-burning fabrics and to pass a British Standard on flame-proofing. They also require other children's nightwear and baby clothing to carry a label showing flammability specifications. In addition, direct order advertisements must include information about the flame resistance of the clothes on offer.

They were introduced in 1985, following a lengthy campaign by Esther Rantzen's That's Life television programme. Last night, Ms Rantzen was horrified that the Government could even contemplate cutting the regulations. She said: 'It's a tragedy. There are so many deaths in house fires, so many children lose their lives every year. These regulations were a huge step forward in saving lives.

'We demonstrated over and over again the hideous danger of loose-fitting nightdresses and dressing gowns drifting across an open fire or touching electric bars or flames of a gas fire.'

One of the retailers canvassed by the DTI was Littlewoods. A spokeswoman for the store group said she was astonished. 'I am appalled. Children's nightwear is not like tweed or wool, it has to be lighter and is more easily set alight.' Littlewoods, she said, prided itself on being a family company and could not condone removing the regulations.

Frank Dobson, Labour's employment spokesman who is leading the party's health and safety campaign, said as soon as the rules were relaxed, 'unscrupulous manufacturers will start producing clothes with inflammable material'.

A DTI spokeswoman claimed the department was looking at 'all sorts of things that may be a burden to business'. She said the letter was a consultation document and did not mean that the regulations would be repealed.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...

SAP Data Migration Lead

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform