A few nights ago, I greeted my husband at the front door and blurted out, "We have to get rid of all of S's flame-retardant pajamas!"
Nick stared at me blankly for several seconds before responding. "Don't we want her pajamas to be flame-retardant?"
It was a valid question. But no, we don't, because we just found out that flame-retardant pajamas have been treated with chemicals that are potentially harmful to S.
Inspecting S's pajama drawer like a mad woman, I find a few culprits, including a cute duckie top-and-bottom set. Holding up the pj's, I eye them warily. They look innocent enough. I decide to do a little more research before tossing them aside.
Here's what I find: The sleepwear saga has been around since the 1970s, when the Consumer Products Safety Commission decided baby pajamas needed to self-extinguish when exposed to a flame. In 1996, the OK was given to untreated cotton pajamas that fit snugly, the idea being that flammability is reduced when there is less air between skin and fabric. Today, you might find the term "flame resistant" on the tag of your child's pj's; that likely means the fabric meets the CPSC requirements without needing any treatment. "Flame retardant," on the other hand, tells you that the pj's have been treated with chemicals. Although these chemicals don't transfer very easily from fabric to skin, they're still a bit scary, having been linked to everything from genetic abnormalities to cancer. Of course, the treatment also ensures greater protection in case of a fire--which, back to my husband's point, does seem like a good thing--so what's a mom (or dad) to do?
I guess one tactic would be sticking my head in the sand and ignoring all of the panic-inducing stuff out there. On the other hand, I could read as much as possible, overwhelming myself and everyone around me with new things to worry about. Neither seem like sustainable solutions.
Or instead, I could educate myself within reason, make informed decisions on the things that matter most to my family, and then try my damnedest to let the rest go.
Decision #1: I'm ditching the duckies. As cute as they are, they're just not worth losing sleep over.