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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all