Monday, November 24, 2008
7 News Investigations: Safe Sleep
It's something most parents don't worry about when they tuck their kids into bed at night. But putting your child in the wrong type of pajamas can be dangerous. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero shows how in this special assignment report, "Safe Sleep."
WSVN -- These are pictures of a 4-year-old boy whose pajamas caught fire. The child was left scarred for life.
Here, another boy terribly scarred when his pajamas caught fire. The truth is, not all pajamas are created equal when it comes to safety.
Susan Wolfman: "I just buy what looks pretty."
Like most parents, Susan Wolfman picks out PJs for her two daughters by what looks cute.
Susan Wolfman: "Well, I assume that they're safe if they're being sold at big stores as pajamas."
Susan Wolfman: "I don't look at the tags, unfortunately. I only look at the pattern, and I look at the size."
But looking at the tags could save your child's life.
Dr. Nicholas Namias: "It's the difference between a little scare at home or a long ICU stay and, God forbid, a death.
Dr. Nicholas Namias is the Medical Director at the UM Jackson Memorial Burn Center. He says he's seen too many children burned by wearing the wrong pajamas.
Nicholas Namias: "Recovery can be weeks, months, years and some can be life-changing."
The federal government requires children's sleepwear to be flame resistant, unless the pajamas fit snugly. In that case, they do not have to be made of flame resistant material.
Carmel Cafiero: "Back in the 70s, all children's pajamas were required to be flame resistant. But standards were lifted in 1996. Since then, sleepwear-related burn injuries are up an estimated 157 percent.
And wait until you see what a difference material can mean.
With the help of the Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue Department, we put sleepwear to the test at the Davie Fire Academy. We used pajamas and a nightgown for 12-month-old girls and superhero PJs for 8-year-old boys. We found the boys pajamas on the same rack, at the same price.
But there's a big difference when they come into contact with a flame.
BSO Fire Rescue: "Look at the one on the left, how quickly it's burning. The one on the right is kind of melting."
In a matter of seconds, the pajamas on the left, which are not flame resistant, go up in flames.
BSO Fire Rescue: "We're probably about three or four minutes into this, and the garment on the right, the treated, flame resistant garment has still not ignited."
When we tested the girls' pajamas, more of the same.
BSO Fire Rescue: "You can see it didn't take long for that flame to have contact with the material before it ignited."
The non-flame resistant pair on the left burned quickly. The nightgown, even when put in direct contact with the candle, just melts in the corner.
BSO Fire Rescue: "This garment continues to perform well with that flame resistant coating."
It gives extra time that, experts say, could mean the difference between an accident and a tragedy.
Pamela Gorman: "You saw how quickly sleepwear that was not flame resistant caught that flame and instantly went up."
That's why it's important to read the tags. If the material is not flame resistant, you'll find a tag like this, and experts say don't be confused by the use of the words "lounge wear."
Pamela Gorman: "Some companies are starting to use the loophole of labeling stuff as a 'lounge wear' and they are getting out of having to make it flame resistant."
It's all information Susan, a careful mom, didn't know.
Susan Wolfman: "I'm going to go out and throw out all my pajamas that are not flame resistant."
It may take a little extra time to read the tags, but what a difference it can make when it comes to safe sleep.